Whirlpool, Videocon spar over design infringement

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 02, 2012 19:10 hrs

The Mumbai High Court in an order dated July 25 restrained consumer durables major Videocon Industries Ltd from selling its Pebble brand of washing machines, which it said was an imitation of rival Whirlpool of India Ltd’s Ace brand.

The order was passed following a suit filed by Whirlpool of India in the High Court this year.

“Whirlpool had launched its Ace semi-automatic washing machine in September 2010 and Videocon launched its Pebble semi-automatic washing machine in June 2012 with substantially similar design of semi circular wash area and square spin area at a comparatively lower price,” Whirlpool said in a statement.

Whirlpool executives declined to comment on the issue, but traders say Ace is priced at Rs 6,000, while Pebble is priced at Rs 5,000. “It was established that Videocon had infringed a registered design (Nos. 223833 and 223835), which was granted in favour of Whirlpool of India, a subsidiary of Whirlpool Corp,” the company said. “The court ordered Videocon to immediately recall its washing machine under brand name ‘Pebble’ from the market,” it added.

When contacted, Venugopal Dhoot, chairman, Videocon Industries, said his company had appealed against the order. “We have 40 different models of washing machines and one has been challenged. We have appealed against the verdict,” he said.

Dhoot said Pebble did not constitute a significant portion of his company’s sales. “It is just one per cent of our total sales in consumer durables,” he said.

Whirlpool, on the other hand, has maintained Ace was the company’s best-selling model in the semi-automatic washing machine segment. “It is a thoughtfully designed product that blends both form and functionality,” the company said.

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