Row between shoe firms intensifies

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 12:

Various footwear companies in Nepal have started quarrelling with each other on issues related to ‘trademark and patent designs’. Six footwear manufacturers namely Basnet Footwear, Pashupati Footwear, AC Footwear, Smart Footwear, Araniko Footwear and Comfort Footwear have accused Kiran Shoe Manufacturers of intruding into their factories by using police force. Recently, authorities of Kiran Shoe Manufacturers (KSM) have had the factories of AC Footwear and Smart Footwear locked up, accusing them of copying designs used by KSM, Davendra Basnet, manager of AC Footwear informed The Himalayan Times

The Department of Industry (DoE) looks after issues related to patents and designs. Despite this, people from Kiran Shoe themselves walked into other footwear company premises and locked up their offices, which is totally illegal, alleged Basnet.

KSM had registered the design of shoes as a trademark, which is illegal as per the Department of Industry trademark laws, said Anjani Kumar Chachan, manager at Smart Footwear. However, government officials also did not pay serious heed to our case, Chachan said. KSM has been threatening us for long, Chachan complained. He also said that all six shoe industries do not produce gold star brand of shoes. These companies have filed cases at various organisations and government offices complaining of excessive interventions by one company. The cases have been filed at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies, police headquarters, district police offices of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI). However, no organisation has taken any initiative in this regard, informed Chachan.

The six shoe manufacturers provide employment to over 600 people and have invested more than Rs 100 million so far. Nepali shoes are also being exported to India and the government does not levy any tax on such exports. Shoe products manufactured by KSM is registered according to trade name not by design, Basnet of AC Footwear said. He also clarified that all six companies have their own different trademarks, styles and designs and have not copied from others. Officials of Kiran Shoe Manufacturers were not available for comments on the issue.