afaqs! news bureau

Bombay HC passes ruling in favour of HUL in Sebamed ad case

HUL sued against Sebamed's 2021 campaign claimed that HUL soaps Dove, Lux and Pears had high pH - unsuitable for sensitive skin.

The Hon’ble Bombay High Court has ruled Sebamed’s entire campaign based on the pH value of soap, comparing it to Dove, Pears and Lux, as disparaging. In its order on the application, the Court passed an injunction restraining Sebamed from airing the advertisement in any manner.

The ruling reaffirms that the advertisement campaign by Sebamed denigrated HUL’s brands and misled consumers on the basis of pH, which is just one of the many parameters that go into manufacturing soap.

HUL confirmed the development and welcomed the order.

Speaking on the ruling, Dev Bajpai, Executive Director, Legal & Corporate Affairs, HUL said, “We are delighted with the Hon’ble High Court’s ruling, which observed that Sebamed’s campaign unfairly seeks to discredit soap brands of HUL, and therefore, HUL deserves protection. We also found this campaign as one that was highly irresponsible, and that such a misleading communication was issued during the pandemic, when the Government and health authorities had advocated handwashing with any soap.”

Both parties were heard at length by Justice A.K. Menon post which this order was passed.

In the Sebamed campaign released in January 2021, Sebamed had claimed that Dove, Lux and Pears, well-known soap brands that HUL has been marketing for decades, had higher pH, which was not apt for sensitive skin.

Through this order, the Court has acknowledged that the advertisement’s purpose was not to promote a product by Sebamed but to discourage the consumer from purchasing HUL’s products – which is not permissible.

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