Yulu Sues Kinetic Green For Trademark Infringement

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The legal dispute is being heard in a Bengaluru commercial court and arises amid the launch of Zulu-branded electric scooters by Pune’s Kinetic Green Energy in mid-December 2023. Deliveries of these scooters were anticipated to commence at the start of 2024.

India’s largest shared electric two-wheeler company, Yulu Bikes, has initiated a trademark infringement legal action against its competitor Kinetic Green Energy. This legal move follows Yulu Bikes’ recent funding round, where it raised Rs 160 crore from existing investors such as Bajaj Auto and Magna. The ongoing lawsuit is being deliberated in a commercial court in Bengaluru, coinciding with the launch of Zulu-branded electric scooters by Pune-based Kinetic Green Energy in mid-December 2023. Deliveries of these scooters were expected to commence at the beginning of 2024.

In simple terms, a trademark or brand is anything that helps a company distinguish its products and services from those of its competitors. This distinction aids customers in identifying the source of their purchases, thereby preventing confusion. This is why established brands vigorously defend their trademarks from any infringement.

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Yulu Bikes, in an email response, stated that the matter is currently under judicial consideration and declined to comment further.

Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions Limited, in an emailed response, claimed to represent a reputable business group in the country. The company stated that it conducts its business responsibly and lawfully. Regarding the case, Kinetic Green mentioned that it registered the trademarks “KINETIC GREEN ZULU” and “ZULU” on September 26, 2022, and began using them only after obtaining the registrations. The company expressed surprise at the developments, noting that the matter is under judicial consideration and declined to comment further.

The legal conflict started in late January when Yulu filed a case in 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 a temporary restraining order, which is a quick court order issued without hearing from the other side in a legal dispute, effectively putting a temporary pause on something until a full hearing can be held. Although the lower court denied the initial request for an injunction, it allowed Kinetic Green to present their arguments. Dissatisfied with the outcome, Yulu Bikes appealed against the order in the Karnataka High Court.

The Karnataka High Court partially granted a temporary injunction on February 5, restraining Kinetic Green Energy from using, selling, and advertising with the trademark YULU and associated trademarks or any mark similar or deceptively similar, including ZULU and Kinetic Green Zulu. Kinetic Green Energy then argued that the interim order was causing them significant hardship and requested the High Court to expedite the hearing date and allow them to file their objections sooner. Yulu’s lawyers agreed to the accelerated hearing schedule but insisted on maintaining the temporary injunction until a final decision is reached. The High Court, with the agreement of both parties, has directed the Commercial Court to reach a final decision on the interim applications by March 11, 2024, as reported by Autocar Professional.

Trademark infringement litigation is not uncommon in India’s automobile industry, which is among the fastest-growing globally. For example, luxury car maker BMW won a legal battle in 2020 against an electric three-wheeler manufacturing company named Om Balajee Automobile India Private Ltd., which sold its vehicles under the brand name DMW. The trial concluded that DMW bore a visual and phonetic resemblance to BMW, a globally reputed automobile brand.

In 2019, the Indian auto industry witnessed a trademark dispute between fashion house Monte Carlo Fashions and automaker Skoda India. The garment company claimed that Skoda’s Monte Carlo Edition car infringed on its trademark rights. The dispute attracted industry attention but 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 licensing deal.

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Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi is a Journalist at EFY. His passion is to explore the future of mobility, which gets him to cover latest technologies shaping the future of automobiles and EVs. But, at times he writes on broader technologies too. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aryaman-raghuvanshi-2431b7153

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