India Sweets and Spices - Trademark Dilution

I'm pretty flabbergasted by the gall of SK Global Entertainment (known for the critically acclaimed film Crazy Rich Asians) and Creative Artists Agency (known for representing Hollywood's top talent including Tom Cruise and George Clooney) in allowing the trademark infringing title India Sweets and Spices to continue without so much as a comment or word despite emails and numerous social media posts from me on this issue. It's one thing to be a naive indie filmmaker but when you have the backing of Hollywood suits, there's no longer an excuse for ignorance

If the filmmaker truly desires to be representative and appreciative of the Indian culture and people, not undermining an over thirty year Indian family business for her film would probably be a better start.

My grandfather and father, Kumar Jawa, at the first India Sweets & Spices in Culver City, CA (left).
Filmmaker Geeta Malik at Ashkar Grocery in Lilburn, GA (right).

The fact of the matter is my family, the Jawa family, opened India Sweets & Spices in Culver City, California in 1984. We trademarked the name and continue to hold the trademark on the name to this day. Geeta Malik, a UCLA alumnus, and SK Global Entertainment, based in Santa Monica, clearly knew of our established presence over these many decades in Southern California and decided, since the goodwill and name was already well established, let's rip it from them and slap it on our movie.  No one spoke to me or any of my family members about permission or licensing to use the name, the film was not even shot at one of the India Sweets & Spices locations so we had no knowledge of this film prior to publicity regarding it's 2021 Tribeca release. They've since gained top tier representation for the distribution of their film from Creative Artists Agency so truly Hollywood giants have conspired here against a small family business.

A screenshot from India Sweets and Spices
with an insert of the actual location's exterior

I had the pleasure of speaking with Gene Maddaus at Variety regarding this issue on June 8th, for once it felt like the little guy is being heard in the face of corporate disregard. But, as of this date, I've seen no sign of an article or even a blurb about this trademark theft in any Variety reporting. 

UPDATED: Variety Article - June 23rd, 2021

The apparent effects of this trademark infringement is the removal of our Info Panel listing from Google Search when searching for "india sweets and spices." Now in the results you get a prominent Info Panel for India Sweets and Spices (the film) and top results are the various news articles of this trademark infringing product.

Before its removal, our India Sweets & Spices listing on Google
would get many customer pictures with thousands of views each.

My expectation is that Geeta Malik, SK Global Entertainment, and/or Creative Artists Agency would show some decency and conscience by changing the title of the film before it is distributed beyond 2021's Tribeca Film Festival. If the filmmaker truly desires to be representative and appreciative of the Indian culture and people, not undermining an over thirty year Indian family business for her film would probably be a better start.

Comments

  1. I wonder if it is Google personnel directly or the Google personnel that has been programming the algorithms that have mostly cause the most damage?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt it's the algorithms. But I corresponded with Google on this issue in November 2020 and after a stock letter response, they stopped responding to my email.

      My Email to Google:
      "Perhaps there is some confusion since India Sweets & Spices appears in multiple locations and with different information and perhaps imagery. This is because India Sweets & Spices, a name started by my father in the 1980s in Culver City (a listing which is still on Google by the way - https://www.google.com/search?q=culver+city+india+sweets+and+spices&oq=culver+city+india+sweets+and+spices), has had locations opened by my father and sold to other owners so not all India Sweets & Spices are under the same ownership though my family does control the trademark name for both staple good products and retail stores and restaurants. Other copycats have come into the market over the years as well such as "New India Sweets & Spices" but we are the original trademark holders of the name and we maintain our trademarks to this day as you can confirm below all are valid.

      https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=85446813&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch
      https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=78623380&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch
      https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=85431804&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

      So, at best, this is benign confusion on Google's part which I hope you will quickly rectify as I've mentioned in a few emails before this, this is hurting our business as people are coming in to show us we are not on Google (info box) and this is a significant slight considering other, competing India Sweets & Spices locations remain on your platform with info boxes intact so, at worst, Google has show blatant favoritism towards certain India Sweets & Spices locations while suspending others. This is highly confusion for Google to play favorites like this so I do hope this is merely confusion but take a good look at our listing, we have 100s of photos, many of them submitted by customers and many with thousands of views so I'm very confused as to the quality issue of this listing since it seems highly visible to active and engaged customers who reviewed and posted their own pictures.

      So please tell me the issue with our listing with some due haste as, to reiterate, you are hurting our business, and have for almost two weeks now, with an appearance of favoritism towards our competitors."




      On Sun, Nov 15, 2020 at 4:11 AM wrote:
      Google
      Hi Raj,

      Greetings from Google My Business Support Team! Hope you are doing well!

      Your business 'India Sweets & Spices' isn’t eligible to display on Google Maps per our quality guidelines.

      Accurately representing your business identity on Google can help improve how users and potential customers interact with your business in the online world. Learn more about what types of businesses are eligible for a business listing on Google Maps.

      If you have further questions related to this issue, simply reply to this email and we'll be happy to help! For additional support on a different issue, you can always reach us via our Help Center.

      Regards,

      Vivian

      Delete
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