SpicyIp Tidbits: The Big Bazar Battle

There’s a giant tussle on show in India over a small trademark.

Mint gives us the lowdown on what looks like it might be a prolonged battle between Kishore Biyani of Pantaloon Retail and Anil Ambani of Reliance ADAG : and all this over the mark ‘Big Bazar.’

An overview: Reliance ADAG applied for the trademark in November 2006, and claims no exclusive right to ‘Big Bazar’, but has registered for ‘Reliance Big Bazar’ as its preferred tag. Ambani’s conglomerate uses ‘Big’ across its media and entertainment wing, probably best known through its Big FM, which also happens to be India’s largest radio network.

The application opened up for opposition late in 2007, to which Biyani and co. have responded, and set things aflutter. Kishore Biyani’s retail stores or ‘hypermarkets’, of which there are close to a hundred in India, are called ‘Big Bazaar’ (with two a’s), and have been around for a some years. Biyani claims that the application is trying to misappropriate a name that was created by them.

There’s an added angle to the story: Anil Ambani’s proposed entry into retail, with or without this trademark, might encroach on elder brother Mukesh’s territory, and potentially violate a non-compete agreement between the two.

Read all the juice here. Neither of the two parties – Biyani or Ambani – are going to edge away easily, and both of them have enough clout to keep the battle raging. It looks like some mark-tainment is on the cards for those in the ringside. We shall keep you posted on developments.


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