The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Saturday said that it has forced e-commerce portals Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and others to remove over 160 web links selling products under the brand name of ‘Khadi’.
KVIC is a statutory corporation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and is the original owner of the ‘Khadi India’ brand.
The popularity of Khadi products has resulted in mushrooming of several entities selling products under the Khadi India brand.
KVIC had served legal notices to over 1,000 firms using the brand name Khadi India to sell their products and thus causing damage to its reputation and loss of work to Khadi artisans.
After KVIC served legal notice, Khadi Global has also discontinued using its website www.khadiglobalstore.com and also removed its social media pages on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and have sought 10-day time to remove all such contents and products using the brand name Khadi.
The KVIC action has also resulted in shutting down a number of stores across the country that were selling fake Khadi products.
“These e-commerce portals were selling products like Khadi masks, herbal soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, herbal mehandi, jackets, kurta and many such products through different sellers using the brand name Khadi. This created a false impression among online buyers that these commodities were genuine Khadi products,” KVIC said in a statement.
“A majority of the products that have been removed were being sold by one Ayush E-Traders. This firm has confirmed to KVIC that it has removed 140 links for various products that were being sold as ‘Vagad’s Khadi Products’,” the statement added.
There has been a steep rise in violation of Khadi trademark as the popularity of Khadi has grown in recent years. Exploiting this opportunity, a number of online sellers began selling random products in the name of Khadi.
Also, hundreds of stores mushroomed in different cities selling fake Khadi products. In recent months, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdown, there was huge proliferation of such fraudulent online sellers. However, to enable online customers to buy genuine Khadi products, KVIC has launched its e-portal selling a range of 300 products online.
KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said that KVIC has given the violators the option of either stop selling products in the name of Khadi or face legal action.
“Legal notices have been issued to various firms essentially to safeguard the interest of Khadi artisans. This trademark violation has a direct bearing on the livelihood of our artisans who are making genuine handcrafted products,” Saxena said.
KVIC has also employed a dedicated legal team, a mix of human and technological tools to ensure a systematic and continuous monitoring and takedown of unauthorised products being sold in the name of Khadi.
KVIC is also educating all registered Khadi institutions engaged in manufacturing Khadi products that their registration with KVIC did not authorise them to reauthorise any one to use Khadi trademarks or the Khadi India logo unless that firm or company obtains proper licence from KVIC for the same.
Last month, KVIC had issued legal notices to two firms — Khadi Essentials and Khadi Global — for unauthorisedly selling cosmetics and other products in the name of Khadi. KVIC has also sought damages to the tune of Rs 500 crore from Fabindia which is pending before the Mumbai High Court.