The Delhi High Court on Thursday declined UK-based Reckitt Benckiser’s plea to pass an interim order restraining Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved Ltd from airing its toilet cleaner advertisements which allegedly disparages the foreign company’s product, Harpic.
Justice Manmohan said he cannot pass any interim order at the ex-parte stage in the matter without first getting a reply from Patanjali. The court also observed that the advertisement appeared to be a “repartee”. It asked the Indian company to file its response within 10 days on the allegations made by Reckitt in its suit, claiming that Patanjali had infringed its copyright as the labels on its toilet cleaner were identical to that of Harpic.
The court also asked Patanjali to file samples of its two toilet cleaners. The British company’s lawyer, senior advocate Chander Lal, also claimed before the court that the cap and germ kill claims of Patanjali’s product, Green Flush toilet cleaner, were identical to that of Harpic.
Lal said the initial few seconds of the Patanjali advertisement mocked Harpic’s ad campaign. Besides, Reckitt has also contended that the Indian company’s product was not completely organic as claimed by it, as it too contains acids just like Harpic.
However, Patanjali’s lawyer, senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, argued that one of their two toilet cleaners had zero per cent hydrochloric acid and contained only organic acids. The other toilet cleaner had 3.5 per cent hydrochloric acid whereas Harpic as 10.5 per cent of the chemical, Nayar claimed. The court will further hear the matter on February 19.