Trademark War: Hindustan Unilever Vs Ashique Chemicals Over Sunlight and SunPlus*

            

Details


Case Code : CLMM098
Publication date : 2012
Subject : Marketing Management
Industry : -
Length : 04 Pages

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Short Case Study Price: INR 100;

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Abstract: ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India RSS Feed

This case study deals with the alleged trademark infringement. Hindustan Unilever alleged Ashique Chemicals and Cosmetics for infringing its trademark by using the word 'Sun' for its brand. Hindustan Unilever filed a case in Bombay High Court against Ashique Chemicals, stating that the words 'Sun', 'Sunlight' and 'Sunsilk' are its registered trademarks and branding one of Ashique Chemicals products as 'SunPlus' is illegitimate. However, interim application filed by Hindustan Unilever was dismissed on account of not using the word 'Sun' for thirty years. The case study helps in discussing conditions under which trademark proprietorship would cease and the reasons for dismissal of interim application filed by Hindustan Unilever.

Issues:

To study validity of trademarks and circumstances that would amount to violation of trademarks
To understand the reasons behind dismissal of Hindustan Unilever’s interim application

Introduction

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), a Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) giant in India filed a suit on Ashique Chemicals and Cosmetics (Ashique) alleging a trademark infringement in Bombay High Court on March 10, 2010. HUL accused Ashique of violating trademark on the words 'Sun', 'Sunlight' and 'Sunsilk' which were HUL's registered trademarks. Following the suit, HUL filed an interim application requesting the court to direct Ashique to discontinue the word 'Sun' from its brand...

Questions for Discussion:

1. What is a trademark and what are the conditions to be fulfilled for a company to register a trademark and continue its proprietorship over the trademark?
2. Why did HUL lose its case over Ashique Chemicals and Cosmetics?

Key words:
Trademark, Sunlight, SunPlus, Hindustan Unilever, Ashique Chemicals and Cosmetics, Thai Group





* This caselet is intended for use only in class discussions.
** More comprehensive case studies are priced at Rs.200 to Rs.700 (US $5 to US $16) per copy.