Amul vs Amul Comfy

Tuesday, 21st May, 2024


For decades now, the country has sung along to the catchy tune of “Amul doodh peeta hai India”.  For us, the name Amul is almost synonymous with dairy products. 

But did you know that there’s another equally famous company called Amul Comfy that sells undergarments? It came up long after the original Amul did, and the two companies have no correlation.

So, is this trademark infringement?

Co-existence of Similar Trademarks

The short (and surprising!) answer is: no.

The two companies sell completely different classes of products - dairy versus undergarments. There is very little chance of consumers confusing the two, or believing that one is endorsed by the other. 

Trademark law also considers how the mark is actually used. If the two brands have different packaging and logos, there are fewer chances of them creating confusion or misleading consumers.

Further, because the target audiences are different, both Amul and Amul Comfy can expand their brands without encroaching on the other’s market space.

Famous Marks Doctrine

There is actually an exception under which trademarks can be granted broader protection even outside their product class. This is called the “famous marks doctrine”.

A trademark is considered for this exception when it is highly recognised among the general public. Its use and recognition goes beyond the specific product or service it provides.

Under this doctrine, brands are given two types of protection:

  1. Protection from Blurring: This stops people from using the trademark on unrelated products. This will cause ‘blurring’ - consumers will be confused about what exactly the brand does.
  2. Protection from Tarnished: This stops people from using the mark on related products of inferior quality. The worry is that the reputation of the brand will be harmed.

Let’s take an example. “Apple” is practically a household name. It is recognized not just for electronics but as a household name across multiple sectors.

Now suppose someone starts using the name “Apple” to sell, say, kitchen appliances. This is an unrelated class of products. Still, the famous marks doctrine applies here. Apple Inc. could argue that this might cause both blurring and tarnishment, as consumers might actually believe Apple is selling kitchen appliances.

Application to the Amul Case

The famous marks doctrine might not be applicable to the Amul vs Amul Comfy case. 

This is because Amul has established itself only in the dairy industry and not any other sector. Therefore, Amul Comfy is unlikely to cause dilution or tarnishment.


In conclusion, while the famous marks doctrine provides robust protection for highly recognized brands, its applicability depends on the mark's widespread recognition across diverse markets. 

In the case of Amul and Amul Comfy, the distinct nature of their products, coupled with their different market contexts, significantly reduces the likelihood of consumer confusion. The famous marks doctrine does not apply here because Amul's recognition remains primarily within the dairy sector. 

Consequently, both brands can coexist legally, allowing Amul to continue being synonymous with dairy, while Amul Comfy caters to a completely different consumer need.