Pepsico Vs Magfast
The great battle for the trademark of ‘Mountain Dew’ came to end by the disposal of the case which started in 2004 by the Hyderabad Court. The case was disposed on December 2019 by “Sri. A. JAYA RAJ X Addl. Chief Judge”, City Civil Court, Hyderabad. The suit was filed for the trademark of ‘Mountain Dew’ by the ‘Pepsico’ American corporate organisation before the Delhi High Court and was transferred to Hyderabad as requested by the defendant ‘Magfast’ an Indian organisation for the jurisdiction reasons. This article gives the clear view regarding the facts, arguments and details of the case.
In this case, ‘Pepsi Co Inc and ors Vs Magfast Beverages (OS No.95 of 2004)’ the trademark for ‘Mountain Dew’ was discussed. The Mountain Dew is a product of lime soda, carbonated citrus flavoured launched by the Pepsico which is an international company of United States of America, following the laws of north California. It was launched in 2003 at India. Under the same Trademark name ‘Mountain Dew’ drinking water in packages was launched in 2000 by Magfast Beverages which is an Indian company.
The suit was filed by the ‘Pepsico’ saying that their trademark ‘Mountain Dew’ has been infringed by the ‘Magfast’ company and asked for the injunction to restrain the defendant not to misuse the trademark of the plaintiffs in Delhi High Court and it has been transferred to the City Civil Court of Hyderabad as requested by defendant on point of jurisdiction.
i) Whether the plaintiffs are the registered holders of the trademark?
ii) Whether the defendant committed the infringement of copyright?
iii) Whether the injunction to be granted as prayed by the plaintiff?
Arguments made by the plaintiff
The plaintiff, ‘Pepsico’ held that the Mountain Dew product which is a carbonated citrus flavoured soda was first adopted in 1940 by them. The trademark for the name ‘Mountain Dew’ has been registered in 1985 for more than 100 countries including India. They are also the owners of “Pepsi, Miranda, 7up and Aquafina”. They said that over 20 percent of the sales for the company worldwide have been turned by Mountain Dew. In India it was launched in 2003 and has been widely used by the customers. They also held that the defendant was using their trademark name ‘Mountain Dew’ for his drinking water product and continued saying that it would confuse the customers with the plaintiff’s product.
They added that the defendant has adopted the style and colour of the ‘Aquafina’ in the first and last letter M and N in the ‘Mountain Dew’. It will confuse the customers with the plaintiff’s product. They said that name of their high standard product will be damaged by the low standard quality of the defendant’s product. The plaintiff held that it is illegal for the defendant to misuse their name and it is infringement of their copyright and unfair competition and the defendant shall not use their trademark.
Arguments made by the defendant
The defendant denies all the contention made by the plaintiff and held that he launched his packaged drinking water in the year of 2000 in India and brought licence ‘ISI No 14543/98’ with the huge advertisement. The trademark ‘Mountain Dew’ was registered only for the soft drinks like lime soda and not for the drinking water. He also held that his petition for the registration of trademark for ‘Mountain Dew’ has been pending. He said that his product has a good fame where he supplied water to the national game held in Hyderabad in 2002.
He said that ‘Aquafina’ arrived only in 2002 after his establishment. The consumers cannot be confused by the name since it is drinking water and soda. The coping of the style and colour from ‘Aquafina’ was denied. Regarding the quality of the water, the defendant said that his product is free from pesticide and it is clean and it stands by the test conducted by the public analyst. The defendant prayed for the suit to be dismissed.
Observation of the Court:
It was made clear from the arguments that registration of the trademark ‘Mountain Dew’ by Pepsico was applicable only for soft drink like lime soda and not for the packaged drinking water. It was clear that the registration was made in 1985 but it has not launched in India until 2003. The packaged drinking water with the name ‘Mountain Dew’ was launched in 2000 which makes it superior. The trademark ‘Mountain Dew’ is not exclusive for Pepsico was held and there is no infringement made by the defendant. The suit was dismissed.
The examination of documents, witness and various details regarding the case took 15 years to decide and deliver a proper judgement for the case. After the delivery of the judgement, the chairman of the Magfast said that this victory is for the whole Indian companies. He quoted the campaign “Made in India” initiated by the Prime Minister Mr. Modi. Pepsico held that they find strong grounds to appeal against the order passed and they will file appeal before High Court.
 The petition (2005 (30) PTC 448 IPAB) was pending during the time of proceedings of the suit and then dismissed in the year 2005 < https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1825131/> further appeal was made by the ‘Magfast’ company.