Had this question been asked to CEO Fabindia Mr Viney Singh the simplest answer would have been “YES”.
The issue isn’t that simple when a BRAND and the PRODUCT CATEGORY gets mixed up.
“KHADI” Or “KHADR”
An ancient linen hand spun out of Charkha/Spinning Wheel by mixing cotton, wool and silk. It was hugely popularized by Mahatma Gandhi for necessitating the nation to use handwoven swadeshi cloth, and shun away foreign goods and clothing thus ensuring self-reliance amongst Indians. A versatile fabric which keeps you cool in summer and warm in winters. In order to improve the look the fabric is sometimes starched to give it a stiffer ironed look. In India Khadi is marketed by and autonomous body under Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises known as Khadi & Village Industries Commission of India ( KVIC ).
KVIC has sent a legal notice to retail garment store Fabindia Overseas Pvt. Ltd. asking them to stop the usage of the word KHADI from all its cotton garments and remove the display banners from its showrooms propagating cotton garments as KHADI failing which KVIC will be constrained to proceed against for violating Khadi mark Regulation and payment or incidental damages for the losses caused to KVIC by Fabindia. It alleged Fabindia of “Indulging in unfair trade practices by using the word Khadi for selling its cotton garments. “
KVIC Commission Act, 1956 in order to regulate the production, sale and trading of khadi products in India stated that “no textile shall be sold or otherwise trade by any person or certified khadi institutions as ‘Khadr’ or ‘Khadi Products’ in any form or manner without it bearing a ‘Khadi Mark’ tag or label issued by KVIC. This means KVIC is considering term KHADI as BRAND.
As per the above stated law people participating in various handicrafts fairs from across different states are authorized to sell there material as Khadi as many such events are promoted by Micro Small & Medium Enterprise. Than what about a person selling his material which is a combination of– Cotton, Wool and silk at local markets like Laldarwaja in Ahmedabad ? Can he sell his product as Khadi ?
For a moment imagine Mr X is launching a toothpaste under the Brand name of Toothpaste. Now for him Toothpaste is a brand. Does that mean FMGC giants like Colgate, Dabur, Pepsodent should refrain from using the word toothpaste to define their product category ?