Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) has decided to claim a Rs.337-crore damage against a re-roller, which was caught misusing SAIL brand names and its trademark. The agent’s Rs.6-crore bank guarantee has also been forfeited. A legal notice is being sent. SAIL is following this up by initiating a slew of measures to check this emerging trend, which not only hurts the company, but, more importantly, puts at risk public life as some of the spurious products are being used in major projects.
The Chhattisgarh-based company was found to be passing off some of its own products as that of SAIL after falsely branding them. There was a Rs.3,000 per tonne price differential between the products of the two firms.
In another instance, a spurious construction steel material, marked as a product of SAIL, was being used at a major flyover in Jammu & Kashmir, and the project was being implemented by another major infrastructure company, which was buying the TMT bars from a local re-roller.
“In this case, not only was SAIL’s reputation at stake but also the safety of people using that flyover,” a source said. SAIL has filed an FIR against the company, which had used the product marked as that of SAIL’s without any test certificate.
Over the last 18 months or so, the Central Marketing Organisation of SAIL has been receiving tip-offs on such trademark infringements. These were mostly construction steels such as TMT re-bars and structural such as beams, joists, angles and channels. “They not only violate the provisions of the Trade Mark Act, 1999, but also pose a risk for the general public as they do not conform to quality specifications,” sources said.
In a bid to arrest the trend, SAIL has begun putting in place some measures. These include asking conversion agents to install machinery to replace the current practice of imprinting the trademark manually. It has also begun posting its own officers at the premises of the conversion agents where RITES official would also maintain vigil.