Trilegal advised Wipro in a suit before the Bombay High Court seeking an injunction against an advertisement campaign by USV Limited. The advertisement compared Wipro’s product ‘Santoor’ with USV’s product ‘Sebamed’ in a manner that was disparaging of Santoor. On 16 June 2022, a single judge bench of the Bombay High Court granted an interim injunction against the continuation of the advertisement campaign pending the disposal of the suit. This interim order was challenged by USV before a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court. On 13 July 2022, the Division Bench dismissed the appeal filed by USV and upheld the interim order in favour of Wipro.
The matter involved legal complexities on how serious comparison in advertisements based on unfair determinants denigrate the reputation and goodwill of a product that is unfairly compared. While judicial precedents state that comparative advertisements are prima facie permitted, the fine line of commercial free speech under Article 19(1)(a) and disparagement of a product was a matter of dispute. The law on this issue, while dealt with in multiple of decisions of various high courts, is not fully crystalised.
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