By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Commercial High Court issued an Enjoining Order restraining Defendant Jyothy Laboratories Lanka from manufacturing, importing, distributing or selling the popular household brand Ujala fabric whitener product.
High Court Judge Gamini Amarasekera issued this Order pursuant to an Intellectual Properties litigation initiated by Mumbai based market leader Jyothy Laboratories Ltd. against local company Jyothy Laboratories Lanka Ltd. and its Directors Buhary Segu Naina and Buhary Ali Saburi.
Manoj Bandara with Lakshana Perera instructed by Sudath Perera Associates appeared for the Plaintiff. Romesh de Silva PC with Shanaka de Silva instructed by Chandrakumar de Silva appeared for the Defendants.
The Plaintiff company states it is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of products such as fabric whiteners, soaps, detergents, mosquito coils and incense sticks owning 21 facilities located in 14 locations in India.
It says it has over 3,500 employees and a team of 1,500 marketing personnel and a marketing network of 2,500 distributors. It states its products have been marketed and sold in countries such as Malaysia, Bangladesh, UAE, Soudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Mauritius, Indonesia, USA, Bhutan as well as Sri Lanka.
It claims ‘Ujala’ is its flagship brand and it develops, manufactures and sells a fabric whitener under the brand name ‘Ujala’ and ‘Ujala Supreme’ and that this product was literally non-existent prior to the introduction under the trade name Ujala and Ujala Supreme ushered in a revolution with consumers shifting from powder blue to liquid blue.
It asserts its product acquired a trans-border reputation and goodwill. It pleads it commenced exporting the product through a company called Fa Impex owned by the 2nd Defendant.
It states however it came to know in 2003 that Fa Impex which is under liquidation had surreptitiously and wrongly applied for the registration of the trademark Ujala Supreme and Ujala Liquid Blue.
It laments it has now come to know that the 2nd Defendant along with other Defendants has commenced the manufacture, distribution, promotion and sale of the product in Sri Lanka, using the identical trade dress with the trademark Ujala and Ujala Supreme.
It charges the Defendants are not only misleading the consumers by adopting identical and similar copyrighted bottle designs and label but also using a formulation somewhat similar but of an inferior quality and thereby cheating the consumers and committing an act of fraud.
The aggrieved Plaintiff company seeks a declaration from the Court against the Defendants for infringements of the exclusive rights of the Plaintiff and acts of unfair competition within the Intellectual Property Act.