11 April 2018Trademarks

Delhi court delivers sweet victory for Ferrero Rocher

Ferrero Rocher has been awarded an injunction as well as damages against a Chinese company which produced “lookalike” chocolates in violation of an earlier trade dress injunction.

Justice Yogesh Khanna delivered judgment at the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi on April 2.

Italian chocolate brand Ferrero Rocher brought the lawsuit against Chinese company Ruchi International for trade dress infringement. Ruchi was accused of importing chocolates from China under the name Golden Passion, with the products packaged in an “identical” manner to Ferrero Rocher’s signature style.

The chocolates were “lookalikes” of Ferrero Rocher’s own products, according to the judgment, and violated “numerous trademark registrations” that Ferrero Rocher owns.

Ferrero Rocher incorporated its Indian subsidiary in 2008. However, according to the chocolate brand its products were in the Indian market “long before” this; Ferrero Rocher said it has a “formidable consumer base, who swear by the chocolates’ uniqueness of taste as well as their distinct visual appeal” in India.

The packaging of Golden Passion bore a “striking similarity” to that of Ferrero Rocher, creating the “mistaken impression in the minds of consumers” that there is a relationship between the manufacturer of Golden Passion and the brand Ferrero Rocher.

According to the judgment, Ferrero Rocher obtained an ex parte interim order against Ruchi in 2014 in the same court. The trade dress injunction restrained Ruchi from manufacturing and selling any product which infringes the trademarks and trade dress of Ferrero Rocher.

Khanna said Ruchi was in contempt of the order by continuing to use Ferrero Rocher’s trade dress in relation to identical goods, albeit under the Golden Passion name, which “unequivocally” amounts to infringement.

He ordered a permanent injunction against Ruchi, requiring the company to stop making, selling, and importing confectionery products which are “lookalikes” of Ferrero Rocher’s own chocolates.

Khanna also awarded Ferrero Rocher compensatory damages and punitive damages totalling ₹10 lakhs ($15,340) plus 10% annual interest until full payment is made by Ruchi.

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