Publicity Rights: Sourav Ganguly vs Tata Tea

An article deals with celebrity rights in India and states as below:

“Taking as an instance the case of Sourav Ganguly v. Tata Tea ltd. wherein Sourav Ganguly who returned form Lords after scoring magnificent centuries found himself extremely disturbed when he realized that Tata Tea Ltd., in which he was employed as a manager, was promoting it’s 1 kilo tea packet by offering the consumers a chance to congratulate Sourav through a postcard which was there inside each packet of tea. In a way indirectly what the company intended was to promote the sale of its tea packet in the Indian market where Sourav had earned considerable amount of popularity. The court ruled in favour of Sourav by accepting that his fame and popularity is his intellectual property.”

Do any of the readers have more information on this case? Unfortunately, the order itself cannot be located anywhere online.

Shamnad Basheer

Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He's also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Prof. Basheer joined Anand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Later, he was the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and also a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. Prof. Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP, the Stanford Technology Law Review and CREATe. He was consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also served on several government committees.


  1. Rohit

    the case is still pending before the calcutta high court.

    Case Status : PENDING

    Status of CIVIL SUITS (CS) 361 of 1997


    Pet’s Adv. : A.GUHA RAY

    Res’s Adv. :

    Court No. : 8 Last Listed On : Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Category : MISCELLANEOUS

  2. Avantika

    The article states as the link does that ganguly sued TATA Tea over a false endorsement/ publicity rights. I would say that the facts given in the link are not specific while the facts given in the article are quite specific.

    The link does state as follows: “The advertisement was published by the tea company for a contest..” and the article also suggests that there was some sort of contest involved.

    are you suggesting that there could be two different cases?

    I’m not so sure but it is strange that on one end the link suggests that the case is withdrawn and on the other end the calcutta high court web site shows the case as pending..can’t verify anything as the calcutta high court web site doesnt seem to have any orders uploaded for the case no. 391/1997 or at least they are not loading on my computer..


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