Bahawalpur-based feed manufacturer, Al-Rehman Oil Mills, had filed a complaint to the CCP against the companies in question.
The defendants included Niaz Corporation, Hamza Corporation, Muslim Corporation, Mian Traders, Bahawalpur Oil Mills, Riaz Oil Mills, Baloch Oil Mills, Azhar Kiryana Store, and Waqas Oil Mills. They were accused of fraudulently using Al-Rehman Oil Mills’ registered trademark, ‘Taizgaam,’ with slight modifications in their marketing material.
This practice by the nine companies was harming Al-Rehman Oil Mills’ business interest and its hard-earned goodwill among consumers, concluded the CCP.
The CCP’s enquiry found that the nine companies were infringing the trademark and imitating the packaging size, colour combinations, logo design, label design, text, and font type of Al-Rehman’s Taizgaam, resorting to ‘copycat packaging’ or ‘parasitic copying’, which is a violation of Section 10 of the Pakistani Competition Act, 2010.
‘Taizgaam' is a common term in the Urdu language meaning 'fast speed' and, as such, is not specifically associated with the nature of the product on which it was used - animal feed, according to local law firm, Vellani & Vellani.
“Therefore, the respondents could not claim that they had adopted the trademark as a generic term widely used in the industry in relation to animal feed," added the lawyers.
During the hearings, the majority of the companies expressed their willingness to comply with the CCP’s directions.
Having considered the fact that the some of the companies were willing to change their trademarks and packaging, the competition authority said it imposed a penalty of US$2.711 per feed manufacturer. The CPP also ordered the firms to end their unauthorized use of Al-Rehman Oil Mills’ registered trademark and copycat packaging within one month and to file individual compliance reports.