BOMBAY HIGH COURT ALLOWS AGRO TO USE PARLE WITH RIDERS

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THE scrap capable of breaking a sweet tooth between the two factions of the Parle family—Parle Products and Parle Agro—over the use of the ‘Parle’ trademark took another turn with the Bombay High Court allowing the latter to use the name on its confectionery products.

   In an ad-interim (temporary) order the court permitted Prakash Chauhan-owned Parle Agro to use the word ‘Parle’ on its range of confectionery products, but only to indicate that the products are ‘manufactured by or marketed by’ it.

   The company, however, cannot use the Parle name anywhere for advertising on confectionery packs other than the manufacturer/ marketer’s name in the legal declaration on the back of packs, as per the court ruling that came out earlier this month.

   The case is expected to come up for a final hearing later, said a person familiar with the matter. Executives of both sides declined to comment on the story.

   The dispute between the two wings of the family started in 2007 when Parle Agro launched confectionery products such as Mintrox and Butter Cup.

   The Rs 3,000-crore Parle Products began the slugfest in the court on the grounds that it was already present in the confectionery space for decades.

   The main contention was that Parle Agro was using the Parle name for its confectionery venture. Parle Agro believes it is not legally bound to stop using the Parle name for its own confectionery and snacks as long as it has separate product identification marks.

   The Bombay High Court had earlier given a judgment under which it had allowed Parle Agro to use the word Parle on its range of confectionery items. However, the order was challenged by Parle Products.

   Vijay and Sharad Chauhan-led Parle Products which makes KrackJack, Parle-G, Poppins and Mango Bite is has been the market leader in the biscuits and confectionery segment for almost four decades, had objected to Parle Agro using the ‘Parle’ trademark.

   Parle Products believes the use of the term Parle in confectionery and biscuits is its exclusive domain. Even though all family businesses of the Chauhan cousins are allowed to use the Parle trademark, companies under them have traditionally not tread on each other’s territories.

   Parle was founded about eight decades back and over a period of time the brothers of the Chauhan family independently ventured into different businesses under separate entities. The Rs 950-crore Parle Agro markets juices and water under Frooti, Appy, LMN and Bailley, and now lately confectionery and baked snacks.

   The battle over the Parle brand may not yet be over as like anything, the Chauhans may want to protect what’s theirs. The problem it seems that the Parle name is not just theirs alone.

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