The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Friday said that it has issued legal notices to two firms for unauthorised and fraudulent use of brand “Khadi”. Over the past few years, the government body has issued legal notices to over 1,000 private firms for violation of Khadi Mark Regulations and has been fighting cases against infringement of its trademark both in India and other international markets.
KVIC said it has now issued legal notices to Khadi Essentials and Khadi Global for “misleading consumers” by selling a range of cosmetics and beauty products through various e-commerce platforms. In the notices served to the two firms, KVIC has asked them to immediately stop selling or promoting their products under the brand name “Khadi”.
The two firms have been asked to destroy all product packaging, labels, publicity material and signboards using the two brand names “Khadi Essentials” and “Khadi Global”, respectively. The notice has also asked the two companies to discontinue their social media handles on various digital platforms and also cancel their respective website domain names. KVIC said it will initiate legal action against them, if they do not comply with these instructions in seven days.
In a statement, Vinai Kumar Saxena, Chairman, KVIC said, “KVIC will take stern action against any individual or firm misusing the brand name Khadi. This is to safeguard the interest of our artisans and prevent the sale of any spurious product in the name of Khadi.
“The adoption of your mark is being used to sell products online…clearly the adoption of your mark is in bad faith and is aimed at misappropriating the goodwill and reputation of Khadi trademark. Apart from Khadi India, the trademark “Khadi” can only be used by authorised licensee or franchisee holders,” the notice sent to two firms stated. “The use of a mark which completely subsumes KVIC’s trademark for identical goods will undoubtedly lead to confusion and deception in the market. Use of your mark amounts to misuse and misrepresentation of “Khadi” trademark,” it added.
Besides serving legal notices, the statutory body has in the past has also sought damages from private firms for causing harm to its reputation and loss of wages to Khadi artisans, prompting many such firms to withdraw their products. For instance: KVIC is currently embroiled in a legal tussle with Fabindia seeking damages to the tune of ₹500 crore and the case is pending before the Bombay High Court.
According government regulations, KVIC has been empowered to grant ‘Khadi Mark’ registration and take royalties from any producer using the Khadi Mark. It is the proprietor of over a hundred trademarks registrations including the “Charka” symbol in India and some other international markets.
In January, KVIC had said it is engaging with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Permanent Mission of India at UN, Geneva, for seeking International Trademark protection of symbol of ‘Charkha’ under the Paris Convention.