Marico’s grievance pertains to Dabur. It is alleged, impugned advertisements convey a clear message: Marico’s product is ineffective and useless. On behalf of Dabur it is contended, impugned advertisements are protected under Article 19(1)(a) and are legitimate, honest, truthful, well substantiated and statistically proven.
A balance has to be struck. An advertiser cannot, while saying his goods are better, say, his competitors’ goods are bad. If he says so, he defames his competitors and their goods, which is not permissible.
Reckitt Benckiser India Private Limited v. Hindustan Unilever Limited, 2021 (88) PTC 584 [DEL] held, “in comparative advertising, comparing of one’s goods with that of the other and establishing superiority of one’s goods over the other is permissible. However one cannot make a statement, a good is bad, inferior or undesirable as that would lead to denigrating or defaming goods of the other.” Similar view has also been expressed in Colgate Palmolive Company v. Hindustan Unilever Ltd., 2014 (57) PTC 47 [Del].
In my view, impugned advertisements are more than puffery and disparage and rubbish Marico’s product. It is clarified, ‘order of restraint’ extends to impugned advertisements as a whole.
– Hon’ble Justice Ravi Krishan Kapur of Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta, Marico Limited v. Dabur India Limited, [GA Nos. 1 and 2 of 2021 in CS No. 264 of 2021] decided on 19.07.2022.