Aachi Aappakadai, the California-based restaurant and catering service has lots its trademark “Aachi” in the United States. Aachi Spices and Food contested the use of the mark by the restaurant in the US and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) has cancelled Aappakadai’s registration.
Earlier, the Madras high court had rejected Aachi Spices’ petition to claim monopoly of the “generic word” Aachi in India. The USTPO, however, said as trademark rights were territorial, the verdict of the court had little relevance in the US board proceedings.
Aachi Spices and Foods had challenged the use of the mark ‘Aachi’ by the restaurant saying that it resembled a precious registered mark that was used for a wide variety of food items and would thus create confusion. The word translates to “distinguished lady” in English, the brand said. In the counter, Aappakadai’s owner Kalidoss Raju said that the mark was generic which means “grandmother” and the spice and food manufacturer had not correctly translated it.
Chairman and founder of Aachi Spices said, “The word Aachi is used to denote any distinguished elderly woman. Some people used it to refer to their mother or grandmother…” Since the word “Aachi” has several meanings, it could not be said that the submission by the spices company was a false translation. The judges said, “While the marks have their differences, consumers encountering both marks may mistakenly believe that “Aachi Aappakadai” is the restaurant and catering line of Aachi food products as they share the same word.”
Chennai-based assisting lawyer Gladys Daniel, counsel for Aachi Spices spoke to Times of India and said that while the company had registered its mark in USA in 2008 after forming in 1995, Aappakadai only did their registration in 2012. She went on to add that, “After the final oral hearing on August 16, the board ruled in our favour.”
Since the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board passed their orders, Kalidoss Raju has accepted the decision and has said that the restaurant will change the name to either Chella or Amma Aappkadai.