Delhi High Court restrains toilet cleaner brand from airing advertisement
Domex is disallowed to disparage its competitor Harpic by presenting its product as superior
The Delhi High Court has restrained Hindustan Unilever (HUL) owned toilet cleaner brand, Domex, from airing a commercial that clearly mocks its competitor brand, Harpic. The advertisement terms its product superior (of removing maladour) compared to Reckitt Benckiser India's brand Harpic.
A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh stayed the order passed by Justice Jayant Nath. The single judge had earlier said that Harpic ought not to be 'hypersensitive'. He had ordered, "Comparative advertising is permissible for establishing the superiority of one's goods without defaming the others."
But the High Court reversed the same, passing an interim order in the favour of Reckitt. The court also expressed its displeasure at the fact that HUL had acted contrary to the court's last order. "We were inclined to pass an order that day but you said you want to file an undertaking. What appears is that you have violated the understanding. We are going to take note of your client's conduct," the court observed.
Ruling that the case involved the 'running down of a product' by the respondent, the court ordered, "We are inclined to pass a stay to restrain the respondent (HUL) from airing the said advertisement on TV or on any other form of media."
Reckitt had informed the court that the advertisement was still being aired on Malayalam and Tamil channels. "The regional channels would not have violated the instructions, had they been informed. The third-party channels were running the advertisements on YouTube also," Reckitt claimed.
But HUL submitted that all videos had been taken down from YouTube.
The court further said that if the advertisers had been informed by HUL and yet the advertisement was being aired, then action would be taken against the third parties still airing it.