Exclusive: Yulu Bikes files trademark infringement lawsuit against Kinetic Green Energy

The lawsuit, which is currently being argued at a commercial court in Bengaluru, comes against the backdrop of Pune-based Kinetic Green Energy launching its Zulu-branded electric scooters in mid-December 2023, the deliveries for which were expected to start in the beginning of 2024.

By Shahkar Abidi calendar 04 Mar 2024 Views icon6735 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Exclusive: Yulu Bikes files trademark infringement lawsuit against Kinetic Green Energy

India's largest shared electric two-wheeler company, Yulu Bikes, has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against rival Kinetic Green Energy. The lawsuit comes on the heels of Yulu Bikes raising its latest round of funding of Rs 160 crore from its existing backers such as Bajaj Auto and Magna, last month.

The lawsuit, which is currently being argued at a commercial court in Bengaluru, comes against the backdrop of Pune-based Kinetic Green Energy launching its Zulu-branded electric scooters in mid-December 2023, the deliveries for which were expected to start in the beginning of 2024.

In layman's terms, a trademark or brand is considered anything that helps a company identify its products and services from those of its competitors. This helps customers understand whom they are buying from, avoiding any kind of confusion or mix-up. This is the reason why most established brands fight tooth and nail to protect their trademarks or brands from any kind of infringement.

 Yulu Bikes, in an email response, said, "The matter you refer to is sub-judice. Hence, we would not like to comment on it." 

KineticKinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions Limited in an emailed response said that it represents a reputed business group of the country. Kinetic Green conducts its business responsibly and in a lawful manner. As far as this case is concerned, we have registered the “KINETIC GREEN ZULU” and “ZULU” trademarks with effect from September 26, 2022, and started using them only after obtaining registrations. We are extremely surprised at the developments. The matter is sub-judice and we have no further comments.

Here's what happened 

The legal battle began in late January when Yulu filed a case with a city civil and sessions court, accusing Kinetic Green of infringing on its trademark with the launch of their "Zulu" branded e-scooters. Yulu sought an ex-parte ad-interim injunction. 

It means a temporary restraining order, in which a court issues orders quickly and without hearing from the other side (ex parte) in a legal dispute. It's like putting a temporary pause on something until a full hearing can be held.

While the lower court denied the initial injunction request, it allowed Kinetic Green to present their arguments. Unsatisfied with the development, Yulu Bikes went to appeal against the order in Karanata High Court.

Fast tracking of the case 

The Karnataka High Court in part ordered a temporary injunction on February 5, restraining Kinetic Green Energy from using, selling, and advertising with the trademark 'YULU' and associated trademarks, or in combination with other words and/or any mark similar or deceptively similar, including 'ZULU' and 'Kinetic Green Zulu'.

Faced with the court diktat, Kinetic Green Energy subsequently submitted that the interim order passed against them is "working great hardship," requesting the High Court to pre-pone the hearing date and allow them to file their objections sooner. Yulu's lawyers agreed to the expedited hearing schedule but emphasised their stance on maintaining the temporary injunction until a final decision is reached.

The High Court, acting on the mutual consent of both parties, has thus directed the Commercial Court to reach a final decision on the interim applications  by March 11, 2024.

Trademark infringements on the rise

The litigation over trademark infringements is not new to India's automobile industry, which boasts of being among the fastest-growing in the world. For instance, luxury car maker BMW won a legal battle in 2020 against an electric three-wheeler manufacturing company by the name of Om Balajee Automobile India Private Ltd., which sold its vehicles under the brand name "DMW." It was concluded during the trial that DMW bore a visual and phonetic resemblance to the plaintiff's BMW, which is an automobile brand of global repute.

A year before that, the Indian auto industry saw a trademark dispute in 2019 that pitted fashion house Monte Carlo Fashions against automaker Skoda India. The garment company alleged that Skoda's "Monte Carlo Edition" car infringed on its trademark rights. The disagreement garnered industry attention, but it was ultimately resolved amicably. The two companies reached an agreement that allowed Skoda India to continue using the "Monte Carlo" name for its car under a licencing deal.

 

Tags: ZULU,Yulu
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