The Bombay High Court has granted an ad-interim ex-parte injunction to Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) in a suit filed by the company against the advertisements of Sebamed.
In their advertisement, conceptualised by The Womb, Sebamed had claimed that HUL’s soap brands have pH levels equivalent to that of Rin, a detergent bar.
The court has held that HUL has made a strong prima facie case for grant of ad-interim relief.
The court recorded the submissions of HUL that the advertisement campaign denigrates its brands and products, does not take into account the full formulations of the products in question, and misleads consumers only on the basis of pH. The order acknowledges that the advertisement’s purpose was not to promote a product by Sebamed but to discourage the consumer from purchasing HUL’s products — which is not permissible.
Welcoming the order, Dev Bajpai, Executive Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs at HUL, said, “HUL’s brands are time-tested and have always delivered on the promise they have made to their consumers. In the initial days of the Covid pandemic, HUL, as a responsible advertiser, had communicated to the masses that one could wash their hands with any soap as hand washing with soap is the first line of defence against coronavirus.”
In terms of the order, pending hearing and final disposal of the matter, USV Private Limited (Sebamed’s parent company) and its affiliates, and their advertising agencies were restrained by an injunction from, in any manner, using, telecasting or broadcasting or communicating to the public the TVC, newspaper advertisements, hoardings and such other material in any language or any other content of similar nature.
The matter will now come up on January 14.