Madras High Court restrains Chennai sweet stall from making and selling ‘laddus’ under a near similar name

The sole right to make and distribute ‘Tirupati laddu’ will vest with the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the Madras High Court has ruled, restraining a sweet stall here from making and selling ‘laddus’ under a near similar name.

The TTD filed a civil suit, seeking to restrain the sweet stall and others from using the brand name ‘Tirupati laddu.’

The TTD said ‘Tirupati laddu’ was offered to pilgrims visiting Tirumala-Tirupati as “prasadam” at subsidised rates. The sanctity of the ‘laddu’ as having been offered at the feet of Lord Venketeshwara before being made available to devotees further raised its status to a level unparalleled.

The TTD said it was the original manufacturer of the widely acclaimed ‘Tirupati laddu.’ The prasadam had gained a great reputation and attained distinctiveness over a long period of time, for which it was granted Geographical Indication (GI) protection.

The TTD Executive Officer said in the suit that ‘Tirupati laddus’ were not produced anywhere else in the world, so they were not available by any other means.

It came to know that Ganga Sweets of Anna Nagar had been making ‘laddus,’ similar to ‘Tirupati laddu,’ and selling them in the name and style of ‘Tirupati-type Laddu’ in its outlet and advertising them through its website.

Justice R.S. Ramanathan granted an interim injunction, restraining the sweet stall and others from operating any business, making, selling or in any other manner dealing in any goods or services under the deceptively similar name.

Further hearing on January 21

The suit and applications were posted for further hearing on January 21.

M.S. Bharat, advocate for the TTD, said there were numerous miscreants who were selling ‘laddus’ prepared outside the kitchen of the Tirumala-Tirupati temple by misleading thousands of devotees.

Recently, the TTD came across the stall in Chennai, which sold the ‘Tirupati-type laddu.’ The action , he said, was probably the first one initiated under the Geographical Indications Act to protect a registered GI.