The Biscuit Battle: Biscuit wars reach the court room
Aniruddha Choudhury 1 Oct 2016

The Biscuit Battle: Biscuit wars reach the court room

If you are thinking of going to your nearby general store to buy Britannia’s digestive biscuit- NutriChoice Zero anytime soon, you may want to stock up as stores might be running out of them soon.  

On 6 September, the Delhi high court passed an interim order restraining Britannia from manufacturing its digestive biscuits and directed them to phase out its existing stocks within four weeks.

It all began on when ITC Ltd brought a suit against Britannia’s digestive biscuit- SunFeast Farmlite Digestive All Good claiming trademark and copyright infringement through the identical colour scheme of the biscuit package.

While both are sold in a blue and yellow colour scheme, ITC claimed that Britannia’s colour scheme of digestive biscuits packaging which would confuse the consumers as being the Britannia biscuits. They stressed on the fact that they had introduced their product- Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive All Good in the market in February 2016 and being an instance hit with the consumers, they were likely to confuse it with Britannia's product.

Hoping to not spend much of courts’ time on the issue, it was initially suggested by the Delhi high court that Britannia could consider changing their colour scheme of digestive biscuits. Colours such as maroon, purple, green etc. were suggested; all of which were turned down by Britannia. What followed was a strange turn of events, when at the next hearing, Britannia had brought a suit against ITC opposing use of the colour yellow by them on their packaging. They claimed that yellow was their main colour and was being used for their range of digestive biscuits.

Following this, Britannia appealed to the division bench against being restrained to sell their biscuits and the court decided to hear it along with the matter as a whole. The last few hearings revealed a humorous side to court hearings with the judges making light hearted comments like- if we feel that the two biscuit packets are not identical, then matter KHATAM!

As the matter has proceeded, it has gone from arguments on the colour scheme to distinctive features to ascertain if the packaging is similar or not. Discussions on the shades of yellow and blue (the two colours that are being challenged) are also something that the court has gone into.

While the case is being heard on a regular basis, ITC has managed to buy time from the court in its favour till the next hearing which is scheduled on 19 September.

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