The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has sent a legal notice to the ethnic wear retail chain Fabindia, and demanded a whopping Rs 525 crore in damages for alleged illegal use of the trademark charkha and khadi tag for selling its apparels. Reportedly, KVIC has also threatened to launch legal proceedings against Fabindia Overseas Pvt Ltd if it does not discontinue displaying the similar trademark. However, the Fabindia spokesperson said that the allegation is baseless and they will defend themselves vigorously.
The KVIC, which is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, sought an unconditional apology and a written undertaking from Fabindia that it won’t deal in any khadi or related products bearing khadi trademark. They sent the legal notice on January 29 and sought a response from Fabindia within seven days of receipt.
"We are in receipt of the notice from lawyers instructed by KVIC and are surprised at its contents. We have made it clear to the KVIC through extensive correspondence and in multiple meetings over the last two years that Fabindia is not in violation of any of the provisions of the KVIC Act or regulations framed thereunder. The claims made in the notice are baseless. The notice has been entrusted to our lawyers, and any action taken in pursuance of the notice will be defended by us vigorously," a Fabindia spokesman told PTI.
"The products offered under the impugned mark KHADI and the khadi mark tag were not even genuine khadi garments. You (Fabindia) were selling factory-made cotton garments as khadi, whereas khadi is handspun and handwoven, and thereby misleading the consumers," said the KVIC's lawyer in the legal notice that in July 2015.
Responding to the earlier notice, Fabindia had said it had stopped advertisements mentioning that those were khadi products. However, in January 2017, KVIC was shocked to know that despite the undertaking, Fabindia continued using khadi tag on their products.