Bombay HC grants relief to HUL and Wipro in advertising battle with Sebamed soaps

In relief for Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and Wipro Enterprises, the Bombay High Court has ‘permanently restrained’ Sebamed soap makers from running or printing advertisements which ‘disparage’ or condemn soap brands such as Lux, Dove, Pears, and Santoor, owned by both companies.

In an order issued on Thursday, a Single Judge Bench of Judge Anil K Menon ordered USV Private Limited, makers of Sebamed soaps, to destroy any copies of these advertisements the company may have used so far and dispose of them. prohibited from posting or disseminating any other derogatory material. The court, however, suspended enforcement of its order for four weeks to allow the USV to appeal against it.

Earlier this year, HUL and Wipro filed separate pleas alleging that certain Sebamed advertisements for one of its soaps ridiculed their brands.

These advertisements claimed that HUL and Wipro soaps had high pH levels and were as harsh as detergents intended for clothing. HUL and Wipro had claimed that most of their soaps were completely safe, mild and harmless to the skin. The companies claimed USV’s campaign created fear in the minds of consumers “to make unfair gains” by “fraudulently creating a market for its products”. Sebamed had argued that it was not trying to ridicule the HUL and Wipro soap brands, but was only telling the truth by disclosing the pH levels of these skin cleansing soaps and bars.

She also offered to edit the challenged ads and run them without alluding to the above marks. HUL and Wipro, however, objected to the suggestion of modified ads.

The court found that the arguments made by HUL and Wipro were valid and that Sebamed’s advertisements were likely to cause enormous financial losses to both companies.

“Defendant (USV/Sebamed) acknowledges the reputation of plaintiffs (HUL, Wipro) in the market and the popularity of their products,” the court said.

“Thus, the impugned advertising campaign targeting the plaintiffs’ successful and popular products, in my view, is likely to cause irreparable loss and damage to the plaintiffs’ reputation,” the judge observed.

The court issued an order stating that USV and Sebamed were “restored by an injunctive order from broadcasting or telecasting in any way and/or communicating the impugned campaign to the public.” Welcoming the high court’s order, HUL released a statement that the order confirmed that Sebamed’s advertising campaign was “misleading” and that “pH levels were just one of many parameters used in soap making.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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