‘India taking up fake brands issue with China’

Fake goods of popular Indian brands like HUL, Dabur and Godrej exported.

July 30, 2016 10:15 pm | Updated 10:16 pm IST - MUMBAI:

Customers in a department store in Chennai, the capital of the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu.

Customers in a department store in Chennai, the capital of the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu.

India is taking up with China instances of copyright or trademark violation under which fake goods of prominent brands such as Dabur and Godrej are being exported to the different parts of the world.

“On receipt of complaints from Indian companies, the cases of copyright or trademark violations are taken up at appropriate levels with relevant government agencies in China by Embassy of India, Beijing,” had recently said Nirmala Sitaraman, Commerce and Industry Minister.

Fake goods

The assurance comes even as the Indian customs recently seized crores of rupees worth of fake Lakme, Ponds, Fair & Lovely products.

According to the Centre, the Embassy of India has come across instances of Chinese companies infringing upon copyright or trademark of Indian brands and products such as Natraj, Raymond, JK Files and Tools, Fevicol, Onida, Godrej, Boroplus, Dabur and some Indian incense stick brands.

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), one of the largest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies said it has been actively countering this problem under its Combating Unfair Competition (CUC) programme.

“In India, the problem is on account of look-alikes, infringing greys and counterfeits coming into the country in the guise of parallel imports,” an HUL spokesman said.

“We have a well-crafted strategy which comprises steps taken on the ground against counterfeiters and steps taken to ensure that on ground actions are effective,” said the spokesperson.

Asked about strategy to fight parallel imports, the spokesperson said: “The three pillars of this strategy are: Setting up requisite structure with dedicated resources, budgets, training programmes and developing bench strength in terms of expertise to tackle the problem on ground through effective actions, advocacy and educating the consumers on intellectual property rights (IPRs) and working with the government on regulation and enforcement.”

Chinese system

“China recognises a “first to file” system, which means that the rights of trademark belongs to the first person/company who properly registers the trademark in China. “The Chinese side has acted upon few of the cases by allowing the Indian companies to register with the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of China. However, the onus of trademark registration and protection in China lies on the enterprises concerned,” said Ms. Sitaraman.As per the extant rules in China, the individual enterprise has to file a case in relevant forum by hiring a law firm on reported instances of trademark/copyright infringements. “We raised this matter with the concerned authorities and sought help in dealing with makers of spurious Dabur products in China,” said a Dabur spokesperson.

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