Delhi High court today reserved its verdict on Britannia Industries Ltd’s plea challenging a single judge’s order restraining them from using the packaging of its ‘Nutri Choice Digestive Zero’ biscuits in its present form. A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said they will pronounce their decision shortly on Britannia’s plea which has claimed that the single judge’s September 6 decision was bad in law and cannot be sustained.
It further said that the order restraining it from using its ‘Nutri Choice Digestive Zero’ biscuits wrapper in its present form on the ground that it was “deceptively similar” to packaging of ITC’s Sunfeast ‘Farmlite Digestive All Good’ biscuits, was also “erroneous”.
“We have started Nutri Choice Digestive biscuit way back in 2008. They (ITC) have in fact copied us,” the counsel for Britannia, an Indian food products company, said, claiming it was the “market leader”. Referring to the design of the biscuit packets, Britannia contended that it does not want to come close to ITC, “but they should also not come close to us”. ITC’s counsel on the other hand claimed it was Britannia which had “adopted” their packaging as even the text on their packs were “replicated”.
Earlier, the bench had refrained from passing any interim order on Britannia’s oral request to allow manufacturing of their product as it was stopped by the single judge. In its appeal, Britannia, had submitted that the order was “erroneous” as the single judge had not considered the fact that their packaging was different from that of ITC’s. The single judge had granted four weeks to Britannia to phase out the existing stocks of ‘Nutri Choice Zero Digestive’ biscuits with the present packaging.
The single judge’s order had come on a plea filed by ITC Ltd seeking to restrain Britannia from violating its rights in packaging/trade dress of ‘Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive-All Good’ biscuits by allegedly using a deceptively and confusingly similar trade dress for ‘Nutri Choice Digestive Zero’ biscuits. It had asked Britannia to adopt a “distinctively different” packaging from the one currently used by ITC for its biscuit as such “deception” could confuse the consumers.
The single judge had said it would be open to Britannia to adopt the packaging it uses for the product internationally or, while retaining the yellow colour, it could substitute the blue colour in the packaging with any other distinctive colour other than variants of blue.