Delhi High Court: Navin Chawla, J. passed an ad-interim injunction in favour of Marico Pvt. Ltd (‘plaintiff’) and found that the advertisement by Dabur India Ltd (‘defendant’) was disparaging their goods by mentioning them as ‘sasta amla’ and hinting that use of such oil will be detrimental to the customer, thus causing grave commercial injury to the plaintiff.
A company named Marico Limited, was engaged in the business of making hair oil. The plaintiff claimed in the application that it is the market leader by volume in the ‘AMLA HAIR OIL’ segment in the country and currently has a market share of more than forty percent. The Plaintiff further stated that it was informed by sources that a WhatsApp message was being circulated which showed a similar bottle as that of the Plaintiff’s bottle. Aggrieved by the WhatsApp message, a present suit was filed.
It was contented by the petitioner that the print advertisement of the respondent showed a similar bottle to that of Plaintiff’s product and showed a big cross on it, thereby asking the customers to reject it. The Plaintiff contended that reference to ‘sasta amla’ on the advertisement is a direct reference to his product since he has been running a long campaign for a significant period of time showing that his product is ‘affordable’ and ‘beneficial product.’
In order to further substantiate the claim, the plaintiff pointed out that his company’s hair oil was duly certified by the independent authorities and was found to be of similar quantity and efficacy as that of the respondent’s company. The Plaintiff also brought to the notice of the Court that Advertising Standards Council of India had found the claim ” Asli Amla, Dabur Amla” to be misleading.
The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the print advertisement of the defendant was a clear case of disparagement of the plaintiff’s product. He also stated it was clear through the WhatsApp message which was circulated by the defendant that the product of the plaintiff along with print advertisement brought a clear association of the advertisement with the plaintiff ‘s product.
The Court noted that the plaintiff was able to make a good prima facie case in its favour. The Court took into account the fact that the WhatsApp Messages not only referred to the print advertisement but also to the product of the plaintiff. The Court held that the print advertisement was drawing reference to the plaintiff’s product and the allegation of cheaper oil being harmful to hair would prima facie amount to disparaging of the goods of the plaintiff. Thus, the Court granted ad-interim injunction in the favour of the plaintiff as balance of convenience liesin favour of him. Compliance with the said order should take place within two days.
[Marico Ltd. v. Dabur India Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2070, decided on 13-07-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Senior Adv. Chander Mohan Lall, Adv. Ankur Sangal, Adv. Pragya Mishra, Adv. Raghav Vinayak Sinha, Adv.Trisha Nag, for the Petitioner;