Dabur India Limited Vs. Colgate Palmolive India Ltd.
2004 (29) PTC 401 (Del)
Plaintiff was the manufacturer of Dabur Lal Dant Manjan Powder. The bone of contention of the plaintiff was an advertisement in which Cinestar Sunil Shetty is seen stopping the purchasers of Lal Dant Manjan powder. He further informs them of the ill effects of such Lal Dant Manjan. He also endorses the Defendant “Colgates tooth powder” as being less abrasive and non damaging to teeth. Both the parties sought to rely on scientific studies in their favor. For the purposes of interim injunction, the Single judge disregarded the studies/reports of experts sought to be relied upon by the parties.
Plaintiff has share of 80% of the Ayurvedic tooth powder trade and is directly hit by this advertisement as the principal producer, by the denigration of the generic product Lal Dant Manjan. Defendant’s advertisement affects the Plaintiff the most and hence it is entitled to ventilate its grievances.
The advertisement does not refer to the Plaintiff’s product and it is open to the defendant while praising its own product to point out the defects/deficiencies in the rival product.
The Single Judge did not go into the issue, whether the product referred to in the advertisement is Plaintiff’s product but relied on Dabur India Ltd. v. Emami Ltd.; 2004 (29) PTC 1 (Del) to held that “the plaintiff is certainly entitled to complain as it is one of the largest producers of such tooth powder.”
The Single Judge further held “….I am further of the view that generic disparagement of a rival product without specifically identifying or pin pointing the rival product is equally objectionable. Clever advertising can indeed hit a rival product without specifically referring to it. No one can disparage a class or general of a product within which a complaining plaintiff falls and raise a defense that the plaintiff has not been specifically identified”
Defendant was restrained from telecasting the TV commercial for “Colgate Tooth Powder”.