In Eureka Forbes Limited v. Kent
Ro Systems, Eureka Forbes Ltd. (Plaintiff) alleged that an
advertisement launched by Kent RO Systems (Defendant) disparaged
Both the parties involved have been
in the business of manufacture and sale of water purifiers and have
established, a considerable customer base over time. The Plaintiff
contended that they have been in the business since the year 1982
and have achieved a majority of 70% share in the Indian market.
They provided that they have been the first to introduce and market
UV and RO based water purifiers and have, since , been the highest
sellers of such systems. They further contended that they have
invested huge amounts in their advertisement campaigns, which
involved educating the masses about the kind of water purifier most
suited for use, according to their geographical location. The
plaintiff stated that the purifier requirements changes with
location, and the use of an unsuitable kind may in the long run be
harmful to the health of the user.
It was therefore the case of the
Plaintiff that when the Defendant provides an advertisement on the
lines that discredit the utility of a UV and RO water purifying
system it hurts the market share of the Plaintiff, who claim to
have become synonymous with the RO and UV technology. They argued
that the advertisement had been directed solely towards them and in
that process had injured their image, and therefore the said
advertisement should be taken off air and the court should pass an
interim injunction to that effect.
The Defendants, on their part,
contended that the advertisement was not seeded with any mala fide
intention and was in fact issued only to promote its own machines
and to inform the public of the benefit of its products. It was a
further contention of the Defendant that the Plaintiff had failed
to disclose the fact that they are not the inventors of the said
technologies viz. RO, UV, UF, NF, etc and that these technologies
have been in existence for more than 30 years and have therefore
been available for use by all those who are in the business of
manufacturing water purification machines. This further meant, that
the contention of the Plaintiff that the technology is directly and
solely associated with them is a misstatement, and, if accepted
would amount to accepting it's monopoly over a technology of
which it is not the inventor.
The High Court of Delhi, while
considering the arguments provided by both the parties stated that
four considerations crop up in the present case:
Whether the impugned advertisement makes a reference to the
Plaintiff's water purification machine overtly or covertly? The
court in answering this stated that the Plaintiff's claim of
being synonymous with UV or RO technology could not be more
inaccurate. The Court observed that UV rays and RO technology are
very commonly used by companies involved in water
Does the impugned advertisement disparage the Plaintiff's
product, if the answer to the aforementioned question is in the
affirmative? Since the impugned advertisement was found not to have
made either a direct or indirect reference to the Plaintiff's
product, it, therefore, in no manner caused any disparagement to
the Plaintiff's product.
Whether the Plaintiff is entitled to an injunction in the event
of the above questions being answered in the affirmative? The court
observed that the judgments cited by the Plaintiff were not
applicable in the present case. The court stated that although
Dabur India Ltd. Vs. Emami Ltd, was good in principle it
could be distinguished from the present case on facts. Similar was
the case of Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd. Vs. Hindustan Lever
Ltd. The Court thus disagreed with the Plaintiff's
The Court, therefore, while
modifying it previous order, directed the Defendant to make
suitable amendments in the impugned advertisement to highlight the
other attributes of the water purification machines shown under the
caption UV and RO in the impugned advertisement.
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