Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), a British-Dutch manufacturing company headquartered in Mumbai, India, has raised its stakes against copycats and counterfeits more than ever before. The company is now more aggressively suing smaller consumer goods manufacturers in Assam, Gujarat, and Jodhpur, to name a few. HUL wants to prevent these small businesses from using similar trademarks, logos, symbols, names, and even descriptions, to save their brands’ entity and reputation. Since the beginning of this year, the company has filed around 30 cases, with an average of filing one case per week to stop the copycats and counterfeiters from manufacturing and marketing identically packaged goods in the consumer market.

According to HUL’s spokesperson, the company is aggressively protecting its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and promptly takes appropriate action either when their rights are violated by third parties or when they become aware of any infringing activity.

This year in May, Unilever PLC, the local subsidiary, took HMT Detergents, a company based out of Himatnagar, Gujarat, to Bombay High Court. Unilever PLC alleged that the company was infringing its mark “Wheel” for its brand “Toofan” by using a similar layout, placement of functional features, and artwork. On May 31, 2019, HMT detergents settled the issue outside court by agreeing not to market the washing bar and detergent under the identical packaging.

Similarly, HUL also approached the court against Parmeshwari Ice Cream Pvt. Ltd, based out of Indore, for infringing their ice cream brand, “Cornetto.” Subsequently, the local ice cream maker lost the case against HUL on May 22, 2019, and paid monetary damages of worth Rs 3 Lacs.

Hindustan Unilever is a firm believer of the fact that infringers should never go unpunished. HUL’s spokesperson also stated that in spite of an injunction, counterfeiters and infringers usually revert to the same illegal practices after some years. He further mentioned that imposing financial obligation acts as an additional deterrent in this particular case.

Several laws like the Trade Marks Act, Copyright Act, and the Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, have certain rough edges, and HUL is now working with the government administration via industry forums, to smoothen it out. Over the past three years, various other companies and brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste, Calvin Klein, and many others, have helped confiscate thousands of fake apparels by filing several petitions with the courts.