Bangalore court rules in favour of Pentair Water

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | June 01, 2006
Eureka Forbes filed the suit, saying Pentair's advertising was misleading

In a tussle between

water purifier brands Eureka Forbes and Pentair Water, the Bangalore district court has decided in Pentair's favour. The suit was filed by Eureka Forbes following an advertisement which appeared in 'Bangalore Times' on February 13, 2006, which Eureka Forbes claimed to be misleading and having a damaging effect on its products. Pentair was restrained from releasing the advertisement of its reverse osmosis (RO) water purifier.

Eureka Forbes filed an objection with the district court in Bangalore, requesting an injunction to restrain the advertisement, claiming that "as Aquaguard and UV purifiers are synonymous in the consumer's mind, the Pentair ad was defaming or maligning the Eureka Forbes product, Aquaguard".

Pentair challenged the ex-parte order because it stifled its right to educate the consumer about the relative merits of various water treatment technologies which allow the consumer to make an informed choice. Further, it pointed out that UV was a technology used by Eureka Forbes, Pentair and other manufacturers and no one could monopolise and arrogate it to their individual brand. It gave technical data which pointed to how RO technology was more suitable than UV technology in certain situations. This is an accepted fact and a comparative chart saying much the same thing is available at the Eureka Forbes website.

In its judgement, the court has lifted the ex-parte injunction on the print advertisement. The line which Eureka Forbes claimed to be misleading was: "Water contains contaminants that are invisible to the naked eye and also to the UV water purifier." The company felt that the advertisement was discouraging to its purifying technology and was adversely affecting the sale of its popular product, Aquaguard.

In its ruling, the court stated that the UV technology was being used in water purification systems, not only by Eureka Forbes, but also by other companies, including Pentair. And Eureka Forbes does not have a copyright or patent or any registered trade mark in respect of UV technology.

The court says, "'Your UV water purifier' statement in the Pentair advertisement refers to the water purification technology in general and cannot be construed as capable of bearing meaning defamatory to Eureka Forbes' product, Aquaguard."

The judgement says that the advertisement is trying to bring out the fact that RO and UV are different technologies. It does not try to say which is the perfect technology, nor does it say that UV is a bad or harmful technology.

The court also observed that there was no evidence to suggest that Aquaguard sales had been adversely affected because of the advertisement.

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