HC bars 2 entities from illegally using 'Khadi' brand for beauty pageant or biz

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has restrained two private entities involved in organising beauty pageants and other business activities by using the brand name 'Khadi' of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

The Noida-based 'Khadi Design Council of India' (KDCI) and 'Miss India Khadi Foundation' (MIKF) were accused by the KVIC of fraudulently using the brand name and deceiving people.

In an ex-parte order, the high court said the names of the two entities were "deceptively similar" to the KVIC's trademark 'Khadi' and hence, amounted to violation of the trademark.

The high court also directed the defendants — 'Khadi Design Council of India', 'Miss India Khadi Foundation' and its self-proclaimed CEO Ankush Anami — to take down all their social media accounts on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook under the tradename 'Khadi Design Council of India' and 'Miss India Khadi'.

It also ordered taking down infringing content from their websites — and, and an e-commerce portal run by Anami — that is analogous to KVIC's e-portal.

The high court accepted the arguments of the KVIC that the defendants' websites and social media pages have been scripted and structured in a manner that gives the impression that they are the same as the KVIC or are part of a government body providing the same services as the Khadi India.

"The same demonstrates the serious bad faith on part of the defendants and their intention to mislead the consumers and ride on the plaintiff's goodwill," the KVIC alleged.

The KVIC alleged that the private entities were planning and advertising two events titled 'Miss India Khadi' and 'National Khadi Designers Awards, 2019' in Goa from December 19 to 22, 2020, and thus creating a false impression that the events are organised by the KVIC. Taking note of KVIC's contention, Justice Sanjeev Narula said, "The plaintiff (KVIC) has established a prima facie case in its favour... An irreparable loss would be caused to the plaintiff, i.e. KVIC in case an ex-parte interim injunction is not granted."

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