Mondelēz snack unit takes Parle to court for ‘copying’ design of Oreo cookie

INDIA – Mondelez snack unit, Intercontinental Great Brands LLC, has moved to the Delhi High Court against Parle Products, alleging that the design of the Indian firm’s Fabio biscuits is “deceptively similar” to that of Oreo.

Economic Times India reported that the high court has since fixed April 12 as the next date of hearing of the trademark infringement case filed by the maker of world famous Oreo cookie.

In its hearing on February 9, the court declined the request of the US firm’s lawyers to advance the hearing to an earlier date.

Mondelez had launched Oreo in India about a decade ago and has so far has introduced various variants of the popular brands, including Oreo Orange Crème, vanilla, choco crème and strawberry.

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Parle Products had launched Fabio in January 2020, and the product came with a striking resemblance to the globally popular Oreo cookie – white cream between two round dark biscuits.

The intense competition for India’s biscuit market is understandable as the segment accounts for nearly 72% of the sales in the nearly US$7.60 billion Indian bakery market.

According to Expert Market Research, India is the world’s largest biscuit consuming nation.

Any serious biscuit manufacturer like Mondelēz, Britannia, and home-grown Parle would thus want to do all it takes to capture a greater market share.

Going by the company’s claims, India is among its top-five markets by volume and is the 4th largest market for OREO in the world.

This does say a lot about rivals wanting to have an Oreo like product in their portfolio and why Mondelēz would be very aggressive to protect its market share.

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The intensive competitive biscuit market in India has witnessed several similar court cases of alleged trademark infringement among various companies.

Early last year, Britannia Industries had filed a trademark infringement case against Future Consumer, alleging that the Kishore Biyani-led company had copied the packaging of several of its biscuit brands.

Britannia has also objected to Future Consumer’s use of ‘Good Time’ on one of its product packs, arguing that it sounds similar to Britannia’s ‘Good Day’ brand.

In December, Britannia filed two cases in the Delhi High Court against rival ITC Ltd for alleged infringement of its product packaging trademark by using similar design for ITC’s new biscuits.

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