Ad row: Adani Wilmar wins court battle against Marico

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on April 22, 2013

Marico alleged its products were disparaged in Adani ads

Fast-moving consumer goods maker Marico has lost a court battle to cooking oil major Adani Wilmar.

The Delhi High Court, on April 18, dismissed a petition filed by Marico Ltd, the makers of cooking oil brand Saffola, against Adani Wilmar, that owns Fortune brand of oil over an alleged disparagement of the former’s products through television and print campaigns by the Gujarat-based company.

While announcing the ruling in favour of Adani Wilmar, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw cited a few similar case of Unfair Trade Practice under the erstwhile Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 and said that there was no prima facie case for grant of interim injunction. He dismissed the application.

Further referring to cases of De Beers Abrasive versus International General Electric, Dabur versus Colortek, GSK versus Heinz India, Justice Endlaw quoted an earlier ruling that read, “any trader is entitled to puff his own goods even though such puff as a matter of pure logic involves the denigration of his rival’s goods…. statements such as my goods are better than X’s is only a more dramatic presentation of what is implicit in the statement my goods are the best in the world and would not be actionable. However, the statement’s such as my goods are better than X’s because X’s are absolute rubbish would be actionable.”

In this case, the defendant, Adani Wilmar, has not said anywhere in its ad campaigns that the products of Marico are of bad quality.

The Mumbai-based consumer goods maker of brands such as Parachute, Mediker, and Kaya, had filed a petition seeking a restrain on broadcasting, printing and publishing advertisement of Fortune

The company had also filed a separate suit with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) alleging that Adani Wilmar through its advertisements had claimed that “rice bran oil is the healthiest oil in the world for its cholesterol reducing attributes.”

The comparison advertisement through print media has shown that the quantity of ‘oryzanol’, a cholesterol-reducing natural anti-oxidant, in Fortune rice bran is much higher as compared to what is present in leading brands like Saffola Gold and Sundrop Heart.

To this, Economic Law Practice, the law firm representing Adani, argued that they have in no manner denigrated the products of Marico and that they have just tried to make the consumers aware about the benefits of their product Fortune.

Meanwhile, Adani Wilmar’s COO, Angshu Mallick, told Business Line that the company has given enough evidence to prove that rice bran oil is good for health and that they will be soon launching a nationwide campaign on the same.

Published on April 22, 2013

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