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P&G moves Delhi HC in appeal against airing of ‘disparaging’ shampoo ads by HUL

LiveMint logoLiveMint 29-03-2017 Priyanka Mittal

New Delhi: Leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, Proctor & Gamble, on Wednesday moved the Delhi high court in appeal against an order dismissing its plea over alleged disparaging shampoo advertisements being aired by its competitor, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL).

The brands in question are HUL’s Clinic Plus shampoo and P&G’s Head & Shoulders shampoo.

The matter was brought before a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog who refused to pass any order and said that the matter would be taken up on a later date.

On 17 February, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw had dismissed three suits by the FMCG majors, HUL and P&G, who had approached the court seeking to stop the other from airing their shampoo advertisements, alleging that these advertisements are “hurting their reputation and goodwill”.

The court had also refused to consider posting the matter for trial and held that the nature of the suits did not merit trial.

Both the companies had filed suits against each other and claimed that the other’s ads were disparaging its brand.

The matter did not end there as HUL took the shampoo advertisement battle ahead through a cross-suit against P&G. This was based on a total of seven advertisements being aired by P&G since April, which compare Clinic Plus’s shampoo sachet with Head & Shoulders and say that the latter was more effective on dandruff.

Another cross-suit was subsequently filed by P&G.

Damages of over Rs 2 crore have been sought by P&G in its original suit against HUL for allegedly ‘tarnishing its goodwill and reputation’.

HUL stated in its suit that the company had a copyright over the Rs1 sachet of Clinic Plus shampoo.

The comparison sought to be made was deemed to be one of “comparing apples with oranges”, HUL had submitted while arguing before the single judge. The petitioner added that it would encourage unfair competition because Clinic Plus is a non-anti dandruff shampoo and never claimed to remove dandruff, unlike Head & Shoulders, which has always pitched itself as an anti-dandruff specialist.

The matter will be heard next on Friday.

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