Category Archives: Comparative Advertising

Comparative Advertising Trademark

India’s First Covid-19 IP Dispute? Dettol Handwash Ad Claimed to Disparage Lifebuoy Soap Trademark


In what seems to be India’s first (reported) coronavirus related IP dispute, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) took Reckitt Benckiser (RB) to the Bombay High Court over RB’s most recent Dettol handwash advertisement, alleging that it disparages HUL’s Lifebuoy soap trademark. Background The case came to the court after the HUL (‘Plaintiff’) came across RB’s (Defendant) advertisement promoting its Dettol handwash, which portrayed that bar/solid soaps aren’t as effective as the liquid soap for washing hands, which is particularly important for tackling…


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Comparative Advertising Others

Parachute Disparagement Case: A Trivial Error or Actual Malice?


I read with interest Latha’s post published yesterday on why the ‘Bearded Chokra’ would be liable for disparagement even under the ‘actual malice’ standard. Needless to say, I disagree because it is an incorrect understanding of the ‘actual malice’ standard that undermines the essence of the fundamental right to free speech under Article 19(1)(a) and goes against one of the core values that have sustained SpicyIP since its inception. I am yet to find an instance in our young history…


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Comparative Advertising Others

Parachute Disparagement Case: Free Speech, Yes; but Not at the Cost of Falsehoods


This is a rejoinder to Prashant’s recent post, replying to my post on the order of the Division Bench (DB) of the Bombay High Court in the Marico disparagement case. My post was primarily to point out the factual errors committed by the DB in arriving at its conclusions – not on Marico’s legal strategy, as Prashant has stated in his post. Now that Prashant has raised the important point of free speech, let me express my views on that…


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Comparative Advertising Others

Parachute Disparagement Case: In Defense of Free Speech and the ‘Bearded Chokra’


Over the last decade, after witnessing Shamnad getting sued for alleged defamation by a pharmaceutical company and Aparajita Lath getting a legal notice for alleged defamation from a leading media house (Shamnad’s brilliant response is over here), I have developed quite a fondness for the fundamental right to free speech and defendants in defamation cases filed by corporations. In this backdrop, I feel compelled to reply to Latha’s spirited defense of Marico’s legal strategy in its lawsuit against ‘Bearded Chokra’…


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Comparative Advertising Others

Bom HC Division Bench Stays Interim Injunction against Vlogger in Parachute Disparagement Case


Cartoon image of coconut with straw, with caption "This whole experience has left me feeling empty inside"

Last month, I had blogged about Marico v. Abhijeet Bhansali where a Single Judge of the Bombay High Court directed the defendant, Abhijeet Bhansali (‘Bhansali’) to take down (in the interim) an offending video because he prima facie made false and reckless statements about Marico’s coconut oil branded, “Parachute”. On February 14, a Division Bench (DB) of the Court lifted the injunction and permitted Bhansali (aka ‘Bearded Chokra’) to post the video subject to replacement of one line in the…


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Comparative Advertising Others

Brand Protection in the Age of Social Media Influencers: Bom HC in Parachute Disparagement Case


What happens when social media influencers such as bloggers and vloggers comment on the quality of branded products recklessly? Earlier this month, Justice Kathawala of the Bombay High Court had granted an interim injunction against one such vlogger’s video in Marico Limited v. Abhijeet Bhansali. The branded product in issue is PARACHUTE coconut oil sold by Marico Limited, the plaintiff, and the vlogger involved is Abhijeet Bhansali, the defendant. Background and Facts Bhansali makes a living solely by creating and…


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Comparative Advertising Trademark

All About Men’s Fairness Creams and Generic Disparagement


In a country where a person’s beauty is usually based on the melanin content in one’s skin, products promising fairness and “even skin tone” are abundantly available in the Indian cosmetics industry, most of which target the fairer sex (pun intended) as their main customer base. Lately, however, the Indian cosmetics industry has been acknowledging changing gender roles and the  shift from traditional perceptions of masculinity and femininity by introducing beauty products especially targeted towards men, including fairness products. A…


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Comparative Advertising

Constitutionalisation of Private Law Disputes: Horlicks Ltd and Anr. v. Heinz India Pvt. Ltd.


Judgments of Indian courts are often criticised for their use of convoluted language, verbosity, and tendency to digress into avoidable terrains (for instances of courts employing barely decipherable language, see this). A recent order of the Delhi High Court (‘Order’), in the matter of Horlicks Limited and Anr. v. Heinz India Private Limited falls into the third category- crossing into the territory of fundamental rights in a private law dispute. The Order was made in an application filed by Horlicks…


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Comparative Advertising Trademark

Real Icecream, Real Disparagement: Bombay HC Shuts Down Amul’s Advertisements (Part II)


[In Part I of this post, I had laid out the facts of the case and studied the viability of the claim of generic disparagement under law. I had also looked into one of the primary issues of this case – whether frozen desserts all contain “vanaspati/vanaspati tel.”] One of the contentions raised by Amul was that this was a case of comparative advertisement, which permitted puffery of its products. (Our posts on this subject can be accessed here.) I…


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Comparative Advertising Trademark

Real Icecream, Real Disparagement: Bombay HC Shuts Down Amul’s Advertisements (Part I)


Earlier this year, Amul found itself strapped in legal trouble when Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) sued them for disparagement. At the root of the dispute, were two advertisements comparing Amul’s “icecreams” to other “frozen desserts” – claiming that the former uses “real milk” while the latter does not. We had covered this over here, when the issue first hit headlines. Last month, a single judge bench of the Bombay High Court passed a comprehensive judgment on the matter (Suit (L)…


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