Amul is the brand name for the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which has been selling milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream products in the country since 1946, sourcing from three million milk producers.
Last week, the cooperative sent off a legal notice to Nestlé over trademark infringement of its dairy brand A+, less than a week after Nestle rolled out a new brand of milk and yogurt called Nestlé a+.
Under the notice, the cooperative alleged that Nestlé was guilty of passing off its products' as those of GCMMF's, which has been retailing fortified cheese and high-calcium milk under the brand Amul A+ and Amul Calci + in India.
The notice asks Nestlé to give a legal commitment to not manufacture, sell or advertise products using the symbol 'A+' or 'a+,' and to cease the practice immediately. In addition, GCMMF is also looking at damages to the tune of US$10m from Nestlé for creating confusion and deception amongst consumers.
Around for a year
An official with GCMMF, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told FoodNavigator-Asia that both the Amul products have been on-market for some time.
“Amul A+ has been around for a year and Calci+ for more than three years. The notice has been sent by our lawyers and I am told that Nestle is in receipt of the notice,” he said.
Nestlé could not be contacted before publication. Nestlé announced earlier this month that it was rebranding its milk and dahi as Nestlé a+ milk and dahi, claiming that it intended Nestlé a+ milk to become the benchmark of quality to distinguish itself from other inconsistent milk brands.
In the Indian market, Nestlé struggles behind GCMMF, whose Amul brand of products completely dominate the butter, cheese, and packaged milk category to the tune of 90% market shares.