Counterfeit Shoes No More: India’s Strict IP Laws and Recent Trademark Infringement Cases:

The global footwear industry is rapidly growing, and is estimated to be worth $365 billion by 2027. As demand for footwear continues to increase, manufacturers are seeking out sourcing destinations that offer a combination of cost-effective manufacturing options, skilled labor, and strong intellectual property protection measures. One country that has emerged as a leader in all of these areas is India.

India is rapidly becoming a top sourcing destination for the footwear industry, thanks in part to its highly skilled workforce, cost-effective manufacturing options, and favorable government policies. However,in the past, concerns have been raised about the country’s ability to protect the intellectual property rights of manufacturers, particularly when it comes to counterfeiting and piracy. To address this perception policy makers have taken bold and significant steps to protect the intellectual property of manufacturers, making it a safe and attractive sourcing destination for the footwear industry.

India has a strong legal framework for intellectual property protection, with laws and regulations that govern trademarks, patents, and copyrights. The country has also established enforcement mechanisms that are available to manufacturers, including civil and criminal remedies, border enforcement measures, and cooperation with law enforcement agencies. According to the US Trade Representative’s 2021 Special 301 Report, India has made notable improvements in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights over the past year. India’s legal framework has been very strict and diligent in penalizing infringement cases. One very well know case in the area of trademark infringement is BATA INDIA and CHAWLA BOOT HOUSE case.

Bata India, which is a subsidiary of the global footwear company Bata, filed a lawsuit against Chawla Boot House in 2014 for selling counterfeit Bata shoes. Bata India claimed that Chawla Boot House was infringing on its trademark and copyright by selling shoes that were nearly identical to Bata’s own designs. In response, Chawla Boot House argued that it was not intentionally selling counterfeit shoes and that it had purchased the shoes from a third-party supplier. However, Bata India was able to provide evidence that the shoes sold by Chawla Boot House were counterfeit, including witness testimony and physical examination of the shoes. The court ruled in favor of Bata India and ordered Chawla Boot House to pay damages of INR 1.5 lakhs (approximately $2,000 USD) for trademark and copyright infringement. In addition, the court ordered the destruction of all counterfeit Bata shoes that were in the possession of Chawla Boot House.

In 2019, Nike won a case against a retailer in Delhi for selling counterfeit Nike shoes. The court ordered the retailer to pay damages of INR 3 lakhs (approximately $4,000 USD) and to cease all production and sale of counterfeit Nike products. Similarly, in 2021, Adidas won a case against two companies in Delhi for selling counterfeit Adidas shoes. The court ordered the companies to pay damages of INR 10 lakhs (approximately $13,000 USD) and to cease all production and sale of counterfeit Adidas products.

These cases demonstrate that not just the availability of infringement protection laws but also enforcement of those laws by the courts in India, have been stringent. However, counterfeiting is a recurring challenge, particularly in the retail and consumer goods sectors. Due enormous and diverse group of suppliers in India, the vetting process becomes complex and ambiguous. At Zoglix, we have been working with 20000+ suppliers that certified and compliant. We understand that maintaining the highest standards of quality and legal compliance is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and attention. Our vetting process ensures clients are working with only with those suppliers who can provide high-quality products that meet the demands of its customers with absolute protection to their intellectual property right. This vetting process involves a thorough evaluation of a supplier’s manufacturing practices, quality control standards, and ethical and legal compliance. Contact us to better understand our supplier ecosystem

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