Freeths wins trade mark case for UK mumpreneur’s Masalawaala business
UK Masalawaala trade mark too hot to handle for Indian spice manufacturer.
National law firm Freeths has successfully saved UK mumpreneur’s ‘ready to cook’ spices and ingredients business after damaging copycat allegations were made by overseas competitor.
Following several years of disgruntled disputes, Milton Keynes mum Nimisha Chotai finally won her case against spice manufacturer Pravin Masalewale to protect her brand “Masalawaala” after a hearing officer found the Indian-based company held no trade mark rights in Britain.
The case began in the UK Intellectual Property Office in March 2022 and included allegations of bad faith. The international business argued Nimisha’s company had allegedly sought to hijack the Masalawaala trade mark for its own benefit and prevent Pravin Masalewale from trading in Britain under its own name. Faced with the prospect of losing her business and livelihood, Nimisha fought back.
The 45-year-old launched her flagship brand in 2017 following the birth of her third child Keiron. With precious preparation time now limited, Nimisha’s aim for the new business was to provide home cooks with all the spices and key ingredients to produce their own unique and delicious Indian cuisine in minutes.
Intellectual Property and Media Partner Martin Noble successfully argued that Nimisha had developed the Masalawaala name in good faith and could not be prevented from using it as there were firstly, no earlier rights, and secondly, her name was sufficiently different.
Commenting on the win, Martin Noble, said: “This was a great victory for Nimisha, as she has put in a lot of effort into creating her business, which has already won a number of prestigious food awards.
“Faced with a challenge to her core brand, an adverse decision would have meant going back to the drawing board, which was not palatable at all. The IPO has exonerated the Masalawaala brand from the allegations of fakery and deception made by their opponent and this decision means Nimisha can continue to focus on expanding her brand and growing goodwill through increased sales.”
Nimisha Chotai added: “I’m thrilled and most of all relieved that all the hard work put in to create Masalawaala has not gone to waste, and we can continue to create the authentic taste of India and establish ourselves as a market leader.
“Martin and the team at Freeths have been extremely impressive, responsive, and engaged with the entire process, providing sound legal advice throughout.
“We might be a smaller and newer company than competitors, but we wanted to take ownership of our name from the start. Building a solid reputation and brand presence is very important to us at this stage, and Freeths understood this completely.”
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
Talk to us
Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014