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PepsiCo, MSM attempting out of court settlement over ‘Youngistaan’

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MUMBAI: It was in 2008 that PepsiCo India came up with a new campaign around the theme ‘Youngistaan’, the land of youngsters.

The campaign featuring cricketers and film stars was aimed at bringing alive the connect between the cola brand and the youth.

PepsiCo India had then got ‘Youngistaan’ registered as its trademark. The trademark is now a matter of dispute between PepsiCo India and MSM Motion Pictures.

The dispute is over the title of a film co-produced by MSM Motion Pictures and Vashu Bhagnani-owned Pooja Pictures.

Even after having received a notice in January from PepsiCo India against the use of Youngistan as the title of their film, the co-producers went ahead and announced the film with the same name.

PepsiCo alleged that its registered trademark Youngistaan has been violated by the co-producers of the film by choosing to go ahead with Youngistan as the film’s title.

Singh&Singh, a law firm representing PepsiCo, had last month sent a legal notice to the co-producers of the film against the use of Youngistaan as the title of their film.

Notwithstanding the objections raised by PepsiCo, MSM Motion Pictures and Pooja Pictures, on 6 February, announced the launch of their upcoming film ‘Youngistaan’ featuring Jackky Bhagnani, Neha Sharma, Boman Irani and late Farooq Sheikh.

Pepsi then took the matter to the Delhi High Court on 12 February. “Since MSM didn’t comply with the legal notice, we had to take a step and file a case against them for violation of (PepsiCo) trademark,” says a source from the law firm.

Pepsi has pleaded for an order from the high court "restraining them (the co-producers of the film) from launching their movie under the impugned title 'Youngistaan' which is nothing but a blatant imitation of the plaintiff's (Pepsi) registered trademark".

The next hearing in the matter is scheduled on Monday, 24 February in the court of Justice A K Pathak.

While PepsiCo India continues to pursue the legal course, the two parties have not completely given up hope of an amicable settlement.

PepsiCo India and MSM Motion Pictures are in talks to try an out of court settlement, as per industry sources.

Officials of MSM Motion Pictures were unavailable for a comment.

The dispute is interesting as a corporate is attempting to prevent one of its promotional trademarks from being used as the title of a film.

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