Groupe Danone pays Britannia Rs22 crore to settle IPR dispute

Britannia Industries announced on Monday that it had received Rs22 crore from France's Danone in settlement of all disputes related to the 'Tiger' brand biscuits.
Britannia chairman Nusli Wadia told the company's annual general meeting in Kolkata that all the IPR issues on Tiger had been resolved with Kraft, Danone's new owner, with Britannia securing the legitimate right to its Tiger logo around the world.

Britannia was embroiled in bitter intellectual property rights litigation with its former partner Groupe Danone after it charged the French dairy major with using its Tiger trademark in the overseas market without prior consent.

Groupe Danone sold its biscuit business to America's Kraft Inc in December 2007. Its dispute with Britannia was largely resolved back in April this year, when Danone sold its 25.48-per cent stake in Britannia back to the promoters. (See: Danone to sell Britannia stake to Wadias)

Wadia, however, added that Kraft could use the Tiger name in countries other than India, as 'tiger' is a generic term and hence is not covered under intellectual property rights. ''Kraft is free to develop its own Tiger brand, while Britannia will have the right to use its own Tiger brand in India and elsewhere in the world,'' Wadia said.

The Wadias earlier had been involved in a long legal battle with Danone over the unauthorised use of the Tiger brand name by the French giant for its own biscuits. Danone had reportedly applied for registration of the Tiger brand in 70 countries and got it sanctioned in 35 countries.

Britannia Industries, which has been aggressively pursuing global expansion, saw this as a clash of interest and the two companies moved court for arbitration in Singapore and Malaysia in 2007. After Danone sold its biscuit unit to Kraft, the US firm was also drawn into the legal battle.