In Nepal, unauthorised use of trademarks of multinational and national firms is expanding by the day as a result of lack of enforcement of intellectual property rules, causing worries among foreign corporations seeking to enter the country’s market.In just the first three months of the current fiscal year, which began in mid-July, the Department of Industry received 54 complaints pertaining to trademark infringement, according to the department.
Infringement of trademark rights continues to rise at a rate of 20 percent each year, according to Dipak Ghimire, undersecretary of the Section of Industry’s legislative department. “This is completely outrageous.”
As a result of the infringement, misunderstanding among customers finally resulted in revenue losses and brand reputation damage for those who were the target of the infringement. The popularity of lookalike products can be attributed to the fact that buyers are unable to tell whether they are purchasing the desired things or not because of the way their logos and packaging are designed. However, a lack of customer knowledge about brand names, as well as the low pricing of counterfeit goods, serve to encourage the creation of such bogus goods by their manufacturers.
The Director of the Industry Department, John Ghimire, stated that “many enterprises creating and selling these counterfeit products are not even registered with the Department.” In turn, this has given birth to commercial malpractices and raised questions about the product’s genuineness.” The consumption and usage of such low-quality products can have a negative influence on human health in the long run. In the end, the blame is shifted to the legitimate manufacturers.”
Department of Consumer Affairs provided the Post with various samples of bogus products. It has also been reported that some counterfeit makers are reusing original bottles and refilling them with their counterfeit products.
For example, according to Ghimire, there is a product on the market with the name “Royal Tag” that can easily deceive clients who are looking for Royal Stag whiskey on the market.
“Even regular customers are likely to be tricked by the bottle because it appears to be the same,” Ghimire explained.
The “Royal Tag” is not registered with any official office, although it does have a sticker from the Inland Revenue Department on its backside.
In Ghimire’s opinion, “the Inland Revenue Department provides stickers without checking the label on the bottle,” and that counterfeit products, particularly alcoholic beverages, would be better controlled if the Inland Revenue Department provided its stickers after thoroughly inspecting the bottle and its label, he said.
Products having the same name, logo, and packaging as Badam Drink, an Indian beverage, have been discovered to be manufactured in Nepal. Other bottles with similar designs are available from Golden Oak under the name “Perfect” and from Royal Stag under the name “Royal Short.”
In accordance with the Patent, Design and Trade Mark Act 1965, offenders of the law are subject to a punishment of Rs100,000 as well as the right to halt production and seize their products, according to Ghimire. “However, the law is outdated, and fining them Rs100,000 is not a significant punishment.”
Officials from the Department of Industry claim that it is not because genuine firms have not submitted complaints that this is the case.
Surya Nepal filed a complaint against Perfect Blends Nepal in mid-July, alleging that its trademark had been infringed upon and requesting that action be taken. Perfect Blends Nepal has been manufacturing a product that is comparable to this one under the name Sahasi Premium Filter King.
In mid-July, Dr. Oetkar of India filed a case against Asian Thai Foods, seeking to have the company’s trademark application for “Fun Foods” and its logo cancelled.
Red Bull, a Thai-made energy drink, filed a complaint alleging trademark infringement against two companies, Viet-My Beverage and Food Processing Joint Stock Company and Viet-My Beverage and Food Processing Joint Stock Company, for using the company’s trademark as “Red Blue” in mid-September.
In addition, the corporation filed a trademark infringement complaint against Pashupati Thai Beverages, accusing them of exploiting the original name “Red Buffalo” and emblem without permission.
Pidilite, an Indian adhesive business, has filed a trademark infringement case against Rathi Adhesive for utilizing the company’s trademarks “Karpenter” and “Karpenter Plus” in the middle of September, claiming trademark infringement.
Asian Biscuit & Confectionery filed a trademark infringement action against Cadbury UK for utilizing the company’s trademark with Cadbury Dairy Milk Lickabels, alleging that the trademark was infringed upon. In addition, the company filed a case against Shree Pashupati Biscuit Industries for utilizing the company’s trademark as “Pashupati Imli Ball” and for using the same logo as the corporation.
According to the Department of Industry, many lawsuits that have been filed in court have been pending for more than a decade without a decision.
Nepal became a member to the landmark global agreement in 2001, which has specific measures for the protection of trademarks and trade names. Despite the fact that the international convention was signed more than two decades ago, the existing law has not yet been modified or reconstructed to take into account the changing circumstances.Chivas Brothers filed a trademark infringement complaint against Chandika Distillery in February 2009, alleging that the distillery’s trademark, “Passport,” was being used without permission. It has been more than 11 years since the incident occurred, and the case is still pending at the department.
In December, Parle Products, India filed a complaint against Kwality Diet and Food Products, alleging trademark infringement in connection with the company’s Kwality product.
In November 2008, Red Bull filed a trademark infringement complaint against Kwality Thai Foods, alleging that the company’s trademarks “123 Red Ox” and “Red Ox” were being used without permission.
Ghimire stated that the dissolution of a corporation that has filed a complaint, as well as cases filed against companies that do not have a proper location, can result in cases remaining outstanding in some instances.
In September 2018, PepsiCo Inc. of the United States filed a trademark infringement complaint against Singapore Beverage, Jhapa, for using the company’s goods under the names Summer Dew, Green Dew, Him Dew, and Swiss Dew, among other names. In January 2019, the American corporation filed a complaint against Singapore Beverage for allegedly infringing on its trademark by marketing Monsoon Dew under its brand name.
It was in May of this year that the Coca-Cola Company of the United States filed trademark infringement allegations against Pathivara Foods and Packaging Udhyog Nepal for branding its goods Cool Cola and Super Fantastic. Additionally, the multinational beverage company filed complaints against Singapore Beverage in March and April of this year, seeking to have the company’s trademarks cancelled and to prevent the Nepali company from using the company’s name in an unauthorised manner with Right Lemon, Club Cola, and Fancy Cola beverages.
In a complaint filed against Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken claimed that the company was illegally exploiting the KFC trademark under the name KKFC. In addition, the company filed a lawsuit against Asian Thai Foods for trademark infringement in connection with the Twister trademark.
J&J US filed a trademark infringement complaint against Jasmine Hygiene Products in April 2019 alleging that the Jasmine Safepree and logo violated the company’s trademark rights.
Reckitt Benckiser India filed a case alleging trademark infringement against Muktinath Chemical Udhyog in December 2017 for using the company’s trademark as MCU Harpic and logo and for utilizing the company’s logo.
According to a department official, counterfeit products have recently invaded the market in such a way that it has become difficult to obtain authentic products.
“It is primarily due to insufficient legislation,” Ghimire explained.
A measure relating to trademarks, copyright, and intellectual property rights has been stalled in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supply for more than two years, according to government officials.
The new law, according to Ghimire, has doubled the fines and established a separate police unit dedicated to raiding such businesses, among other provisions.
The easy availability of counterfeit products, according to Madhav Timalsina, head of the Consumer Rights Investigation Forum, violates the Consumer Protection Act as well as people’s fundamental right to acquire high-quality goods, he added.
Because of undue influence and pressure from businesspeople, particularly those who are involved in wrongdoing, the political system of the country has become increasingly corrupt, according to Timalsin, as a result of which the market for such products has continued to grow despite the absence of government intervention.
“Such people do not want the law to be implemented, as a result of which the market is becoming overrun with counterfeit products,” Timalsina explained.