ITC claims that Godfrey Phillips India’s ‘Flake Premium’ featuring below its Select brand packaging is similar to the cigarette maker’s ‘Flake Refined Taste’

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Godfrey Phillips launched new packaging for Select cigarette brand in December 2020. (Credit: klimkin from Pixabay)

Tobacco manufacturer Godfrey Phillips India (GPI) has been restricted by the Bombay High Court in Maharashtra, India to manufacture, distribute or sell its ‘Select’ cigarette brand featuring the word ‘Flake’ on the packaging.

The move follows an appeal made by rival Indian cigarette maker ITC in the Bombay High Court that alleged the infringement by GPI of its copyright and trademark word ‘Flake’ on the latter’s packaging of ‘Select’ brand.

In its plea, ITC claimed that GPI used the words ‘Flake Premium’ below the ‘Select’ brand packaging that is similar to the Kolkata-based cigarette maker’s ‘Flake Refined Taste’.

Godfrey Phillips’ Select brand was launched in new packaging in December 2019

Godfrey Phillips, which had been selling cigarettes under the ‘Select’ brand in different packaging/label since years, launched new packaging for its brand in December last year.

High Court of Bombay Chief Justice BP Colabawalla was reported by The Hindu BusinessLine as saying: “Prima facie, it appears that launch of the defendant’s (Godfrey Philips’) impugned (SELECT) pack in the same market with a strikingly similar artistic label is itself indicative of the defendant’s ill-intent.

“GPI, however, contended that entities in the industry are using the word ‘Flake’ while any company cannot claim its ownership.

“I agree with the legal proposition…that in assessing copyright infringement, small/trivial differences introduced ought to be ignored since every intelligent copyist will always introduce a few changes to set up a defence against infringement of copyright.

“The infringing copy does not have to be exact in every microscopic detail,” Colabawalla was quoted by Economic Times.