The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), on Friday (September 19), said that it had forced etailers such as Amazon and Flipkart to remove 160 listings of inauthentic or ‘fake’ Khadi products from their platforms. The development was reported in a release of the Press Information Bureau (PIB).
In its statement, KVIC said that it had served legal notices to more than 1,000 firms which were using the brand name of ‘Khadi’ to sell their products and thus “causing damage to its reputation and the loss of work to Khadi artisans.” KVIC’s action has also forced Khadi Global to rebrand its website to the Indie Earth and remove its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
KVIC has alleged that ecommerce portals were selling products like Khadi masks, herbals soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, herbal mehandi, jackets, kurta and many such products through different sellers using the brand name ‘Khadi’, which constitutes a violation of the ‘Khadi India’ trademark. The recent action by KVIC is part of its strategy to more stringently safeguard the ‘Khadi India’ trademark. It is doing this by enforcing a robust online enforcement plan for effective monitoring of ‘Khadi India’ trademark rights.
In 2018, KVIC had sued online store FabIndia for INR 525 Cr in damages for “illegally” using its trademark charkha and selling apparels with the ‘Khadi’ tag. While FabIndia had agreed not to use ‘Khadi’ as branding for its products, the case is still pending before the Bombay High Court, as mentioned in the PIB release.
Khadi is a non-proprietary hand-woven fabric, but the state has a monopoly on selling these products and on determining what products can or cannot be called ‘Khadi’.
In recent times, KVIC has sought to get ‘Khadi’ registered as an international trademark, while promoting ‘Khadi India’ as a brand globally, as part of its sustained push to promote ‘Made in India’ products in both domestic and international markets.
Last month, Inc42 reported that the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) was planning a pilot project with leading ecommerce portals to list products with the geographical indication (GI) tag, to give a boost to local manufacturers.