Cadbury India runs into brand squatter with Delhi's confectionery Mondelez India
Mondelez International, the new identity of Kraft Foods' snacks and confectionery business, has run into perhaps its hardest hurdle in changing the name of Cadbury India - a brand squatter.
Mondelez India, a Delhi-based company selling Kennyzone brand of confectionery, is waiting to legally challenge the global company from registering a similar name.
"We are seeking legal advice on the matter and will take actions accordingly," said an official spokesperson of Cadbury India, which is treading very carefully in migrating to the new identity in India where Cadbury has massive brand equity. Now, when branding experts all over the world have found the Mondelez name strange and confusing, how come an Indian entrepreneur came up with the same moniker?
Well, Mondelez India Pvt Ltd was registered in September last, well after Kraft decided to split its business and call the snack business Mondelez - a made-up name selected from 1,700 staff suggestions in March - from October 1, 2012.
The Delhi firm was earlier called Non Stop Logistics.
One of the directors of Mondelez India said company promoter SK Sharma is seeking legal advise on the matter and would challenge any attempt from the multinational to call itself Mondelez India.
"Maybe they can stick to being Mondelez International. We are open to discussions on the subject but any other means to register themselves will be challenged legally by us," the person said.
On its website Mondelez India states, "We are confident that the quality of Kennyzone candies matches, and in some cases is better than many major renowned international brands."
Anuradha Salhotra, managing partner at Lall, Lahiri & Salhotra, a law firm specialising in intellectual property, said creation of Mondelez India is a deliberate attempt to make a quick buck.
"These are deliberate and planned moves by some people to make a quick buck out of it. Many a times they are more than willing to sell it back to the rightful name owner," she said. "If it is just a domain name then there could be arbitration but if it is a company name, trademark and domain name, then Mondelez International will have to go in for injunction," she added.
Meanwhile, Mondelez International has registered a company, Mondelez Foods, in India although it does not use the 'foods' tag in any other markets.
In early 2010, Kraft Foods acquired British candy maker Cadbury in a deal worth close to $19 billion. And in October last, Kraft's snacks business that includes brands such as Cadbury, Oreo, Tang and Trident was spun off into Mondelez. Kraft is left with the grocery portfolio, which includes Philadelphia cream cheese and Maxwell House coffee.
Mondelez derives some 45% of its sales from developing markets. Its CEO Irene Rosenfeld is reported to have said that the priority in India will be to drive chocolate penetration by increasing marketing support and strengthening distribution.
But the chocolate maker has started 2013 on a rocky note in India with authorities looking into possible tax evasion. Last year, an investigation was launched to determine whether Kraft Foods Inc needed to pay taxes arising from its $19 billion takeover of Cadbury. Another case involves alleged evasion of central excise duty, or factory gate tax at a company facility in Himachal Pradesh.
The name change, from a highly popular one to a name that can be pronounced in several ways, and dealing with a brand squatter too have now become part of the not-so-sweet tasks of Cadbury India.
Source : KALA VIJAYRAGHAVAN,ET BUREAU