Chennai/Bangalore, Sep 25 () : The Madras High Court permitted the sale of Horlicks Nutribic biscuits. The court had ordered Glaxo Smith Kline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) to stop sales of Horlicks biscuits after Britannia in a petition alleged copyright infringement of design and trademark.
Britannia, manufacturer of Good Day and Tiger biscuits, alleged in August end that Horlicks Nutribic biscuits manufactured by GSKCH had blatantly copied the colour and packaging style of its product Nutrichoice oats.
The Madras High Court in an interim order on 23rd August asked GSKCH to stop the production and sales of Horlicks Nutribic biscuits. On GSKCH’s counter plea which came up for hearing at the High Court appealing to continue with production and sales of Horlicks Nutribic, the hearing was posted to December.
After the vacation of the stay, GSKCH said that Britannia’s Nutribix had registered the trademark 13 years ago without using and it had used it (nutribix) which was permitted by law. Britannia did not comment.
Britannia, ParleG and ITC foods which control three-fourth of the biscuit market worth Rs 12000 crore are worried that their rural market is very dull. The urban market too is not showing growth and the buying in rural market is stagnant.
The biscuit manufacturers are puzzled by the stagnation since Hindustan Unilever, Godrej consumer and Wipro whose mainstay is in rural areas has shown no decline. One reason could be that wheat, sugar and edible oil price increase was passed on to the consumer resulting in 15% increase. This they feel would have kept away new consumers from trying out the biscuits.
Weak monsoon and spending power of rural public due to poor harvest are cited but then they are hopeful that it would not go negative but double- digit growth figures are a thing of the past. Slowdown in production sector and farmers not getting good prices despite inflation in food prices are cited as reasons for lack of fresh demand.