The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cup cheer for Britannia

New Delhi, Dec. 4 (PTI): Delhi High Court has dismissed an interim application by the International Cricket Council seeking to restrain Britannia Industries and its authorised departmental stores from using the logo, mark and mascot of the 2003 World Cup in their promotional schemes.

ICC Development International Ltd (ICCDIL), a company formed by the ICC to control its commercial rights, including media and sponsorship rights, had accused Britannia and its authorised departmental stores of resorting to ambush marketing to take advantage of the World Cup without investing a single rupee.

The ICCDIL had alleged that the scheme, “Britannia khao, World Cup jao”, amounts to an act of unfair trade practice in addition to depriving the authorised sponsors of enjoying the exclusivity granted to them by the ICC’s company.

Justice K.S. Gupta said: “Neither the plea of ambush marketing is available to the plaintiff (ICCDIL) nor any of aforesaid decisions has any applicability of the facts of this case. Plaintiff, thus, must be held to have prima facie, not even made, case for issue of the ad interim injunction prayed for.

“Balance of convenience also does not lie in its (ICCDIL) favour nor can it be said it would suffer irreparable injury in case the interim injunction is declined.”

Britannia had rejected the allegations, contending that the ICC-held company has not placed on record any documents of exclusivity and failed to disclose that the ICC has granted rights to various parties, including Lintas India Pvt Ltd, as exclusive licensing agent for the ICC World Cup 2003 for the Indian sub-continent.

Stating that Britannia has been sub-licensed the rights to use the ICC World Cup 2003 logos by Lintas, its counsel had submitted that the slogan, “Britannia khao, World Cup jao”, is their property as it was also used for the 1999 cricket world cup.

In the rejoinder ICCDIL had submitted at the time of filing the suit, the company was not aware of any arrangement between Lintas, licensing agent for them and Britannia.

Dismissing ICCDIL’s application, the court noted that Britannia had specifically averred that the United Cricket Board of South Africa had appointed Edusport Gullinjet Travel as an official agent and the sole official tour operator with rights to sub-license the travel licence.

Justice Gupta said ICCDIL had not contested the claim that Edusport had appointed Sachinam Travels Pvt Ltd to act as official travel agent and the latter had undertaken to arrange tickets for 200 people as guests of Britannia for various matches in the World Cup.

Thus, the claim made by Britannia would be taken to have been admitted by the ICCDIL, the court said. From the agreements and rights documents contents, it was evident that defendant (Britannia) had acquired the right to use black and white stripes and even the mascot on the packing of biscuits manufactured by the Indian biscuit manufacturer, it added.

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