Godrej files fresh appeal in HC over Reckitt commercial

Godrej files fresh appeal in HC over Reckitt commercial

Author | Source: Business Standard | Monday, Mar 20,2006 7:48 AM

Godrej files fresh appeal in HC over Reckitt commercial

Godrej Sara Lee has filed an appeal in the Delhi High Court against the single judge's order that had dismissed its petition seeking restraint on Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd and all television channels, including print and electronic media, from airing an allegedly disparaging television commercial.

Seeking quashing of the judgement, Godrej Sara, manufacturer of the mosquito repellant brand Good Knight, has alleged Reckitt, the producer of Mortein, had attempted to denigrate and disparage Godrej Sara's product while highlighting the advantages of its own product in the impugned commercial. This is impermissible and amounts to unfair trade practice, Godrej Sara said.

Godrej Sara said the advertisement tried to convey the idea that the problem of insects could only be tackled by using its product.

"It is not a case where the defendant is trying to puff up its product alone but the intention is to exhibit the products of the plaintiff in poor light," it stated.

Earlier, while vacating the stay on telecast of the Reckitt's commercial on Mortein insecticide, Justice A K Sikri had said that Godrej Sara Lee didn't have monopoly over the colours.

"Such case is neither established under the trademark law nor under the Designsopyright Act. Therefore, the plaintiff (Godrej Sara Lee) cannot allege its products are, in any manner, disparaged by showing the two cans in black and red colour," the court said.

According to the court, the advertisement was not disparaging even if the two cans shown in the commercial are identified with the Godrej Sara's products.

"The defendant (Reckitt Benckiser) has only projected the superiority of its products (Mortein) by highlighting that its solution can kill both mosquitoes and cockroaches and the consumer is not required to buy two separate items for tackling two different insects. This is only a statement of fact which is true," Justice Sikri observed.

Holding Godrej Sara Lee guilty of concealment of facts, the judge said that it had not even bothered to find out since when the advertisement was on and had conveniently made a statement that it had spotted the advertisement in September last year.

Reckitt Benckiser, on the other hand, had claimed that its single product under the trade name Mortein could kill both mosquitoes and cockroaches as against the Godrej Sara Lee's product.

The defendant had said that it had the right to project its product as better than available products in the market. It has not stooped low or misled the public and had conveyed the truth, Reckitt Benckiser added.

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