Allegation of Disparagement

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An interim injunction has been passed in the case of Reckitt Benckiser (India) Private Limited vs. Hindustan Unilever Limited by a single judge bench in Delhi High Court. The case is with regard to an allegation of disparagement by the Defendant’s Lifebouy Soap Commercial Advertisement to the plaintiff’s product Dettol Antiseptic Liquid. The Defendants have aired the commercial in April 2018 which depicted Dettol Antiseptic Liquid as an ineffective product towards protection against germs. The plaintiff states that the defendant has shown the plaintiff’s product as ineffective through the advertisement. The plaintiff also pointed out that the Defendant’s product is a soap that comes under the category of Cosmetic under the Drugs and the Cosmetic Act whereas the plaintiff’s product is an antiseptic liquid that is considered as a drug under the above same act.
In order to compare an advertisement, there are 3 step tests to be done. First, there must be a false claim regarding a product. Secondly, the claim made must be deceptive to the consumers and thirdly the claim must affect consumer behavior. In this case it was found that prima facie that the commercial advertisement made by the defendants intended to make a false claim and it was deceptive in nature. Therefore an interim injunction has been granted in favor of the Plaintiff since the advertisement has violated Section 30 of the Trademarks Act, 1999. A list for further appropriate orders will be given on 16th June 2020.

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