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Comparative advertising: Can’t permit defaming competitor's goods: Delhi HC

The court was hearing an appeal by Reckitt Benckiser challenging an order against its plea for restraining HUL’s TV commercial for Domex

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Sep 28, 2022 12:04 PM  |  1 min read

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The Delhi High Court has said an advertiser cannot disparage or defame the competitor's goods for a comparative advertisement, say media reports. The bench emphasized that ‘there was a line that advertisers cannot cross’. 

The court was hearing an appeal by Reckitt Benckiser challenging an order against its plea asking for restraining HUL’s TV commercial for Domex on the grounds that the ad was ‘disparaging its product Harpic’. 

The bench said, "There may be cases where certain features of an advertiser's product may be demonstrably better than the features of his competitor. In such cases, it is permissible for an advertiser to advertise and highlight these features. The message must clearly be to highlight the superior features of his product while ensuring that the product of his competitor is not disparaged or defamed. It was also observed that while it is open for an advertiser to embellish the qualities of its products and exaggerate claims while doing comparative advertising, it is not open for him to claim that competitor's goods are bad, undesirable or inferior."

The court also said that it is not open for an advertiser to say "my goods are better than X's, because X's are absolutely rubbish. Puffery and hyperbole to some extent have an element of untruthfulness".

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