Trilegal assisted Wipro Consumer Care to uphold an injunction in a commercial intellectual property suit involving its flagship soap brand Santoor being disparaged in a Sebamed advertising campaign by rival company USV. Partners Nitesh Jain, Tine Abraham and Siddharth Ranade led the team, with support from senior associate Ritika Ajitsaria and associate Kaazvin Kapadia.
The matter involved legal complexities on how serious a comparison in advertisements based on unfair determinants denigrate the reputation and goodwill of a product that is unfairly compared.
The Bombay High Court on 13 July dismissed an appeal filed by USV, a distributor of German medicinal skin care brand Sebamed, and upheld an interim order in favour of Wipro over the disparaging advertising campaign.
On June 16, Justice Anil K Menon – a single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court – granted Wipro an interim injunction directing USV to destroy all copies of the advertisements that the company had been using and restrained it from publishing or broadcasting any further derogatory material.
It was one of two appeal cases involving commercial intellectual property suits that the high court handled. The second case also involved USV disparaging and denigrating the products of fast-moving consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever (HUL). It involved HUL’s brands Lux, Dove and Pears, and detergent soap Rin.
The USV advertisements had claimed that Santoor had a higher pH compared with Sebamed’s products which had a pH of 5.5 – the ideal level for sensitive skin.
In January 2021, HUL filed a suit in the Bombay High Court against USV after an aggressive Sebamed advertising campaign likening its Lux, Dove and Pears soaps with its detergent brand Rin, thus denigrating all its brands. USV’s advertising also alleged these beauty soaps did not maintain the optimal 5.5 pH level for skin.