After Lawsuit, Fabindia Says Won’t Use The Word ‘Khadi’ in Items

And if they do use the word, they will intimate KVIC about the same in advance, Fabindia counsel told High Court.

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In February this year (2018), Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) accused Fabindia of using its trademark ‘khadi’ illegally and demanded Rs 525 crore compensation in a legal notice.

After KVIC moved the Bombay High Court over the issue on 13 June, Fabindia, an apparel and home furnishings store, has now given an undertaking that it won’t be using the word ‘khadi’ in current or future products.

And if they do use the word, they will intimate KVIC about the same in advance, Fabindia counsel Janak Dwarkadas told the High Court. Fabindia will also file its response to KVIC’s petition within four weeks, as per Justice SJ Kathawala’s directive. According to an unnamed lawyer quoted in Livemint, “Now, since the company has agreed not to use the term ‘Khadi’, the dispute about damage and compensation will commence.”

Background

The dispute dates back to 2015 when Fabindia had received a notice from KCIV for issuing advertisements to sell/trade fabric in the name of khadi. Fabindia discontinued the advertisement after two months. FabIndia's application for a certificate was reportedly denied later due to non-compliance with the due process.

However, Fabindia allegedly continued to flout norms.

KVIC had also issued a notice to Fabindia in 2017, saying, "It is an illegal act and, in other words, amounts to indulging in unfair trade practice."

KVIC had also argued in earlier hearings at the Bombay High Court that Fabindia had continued to misuse their trademark to sell their garments despite communication from KVIC, including the legal notice, asking them not to do so.

Apart from using the ‘khadi’ tag, KVIC had also alleged that Fabindia was using their trademark ‘charkha’ to sell the apparel.

A Fabindia spokesperson had earlier denied these allegations and called them ‘baseless’; and said that any legal action by the KVIC will be defended by them 'vigorously'.

“We are in receipt of the notice from lawyers instructed by KVIC, and are surprised at its contents. We have made it clear to KVIC through extensive correspondence and in multiple meetings over the last two years that Fabindia is not in violation of any of the provisions of the KVIC Act or regulations framed thereunder. The claims made in the notice are baseless. The notice has been entrusted to our lawyers and any action taken in pursuance of the notice will be defended by us vigorously,” the spokesperson had said when the legal notice was revealed in the news.  

The Khadi Mark Regulations, 2013, state that a Khadi Mark registration can only be issued by the KVIC. It prohibits any person or institution from selling products bearing the 'khadi' tag if they do not have a Khadi Mark certificate.

(This piece was originally published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission. )

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