Horlicks and Complan Clash Again Over Disparaging Advert

The Delhi High Court, by way of an Order dated May 14, 2020, in the matter of Horlicks Limited v. Zydus Wellness Products Limited[1] restrained Zydus Wellness Products Limited (‘Zydus) from telecasting or otherwise communicating to the public its advertisement which unfairly compared its product ‘Complan’ with the plaintiffs’ health food drink ‘Horlicks’ (‘TVC’).

This parties have clashed in various suits over the years with the latest one being in the year 2017 when Horlick’s Limited (‘Horlicks’) came across a print advertisement of Zydus where Zydus compared one cup of its product ‘Complan’ with two cups of ‘Horlicks’, where Horlick’s application for interim injunction was finally heard and dismissed, as Zydus agreed to make various amendments to the print advertisement.

In July 2019, Horlicks became aware that Zydus had launched a TVC disparaging the ‘Horlicks’ product and claiming that one cup of ‘Complan’ has the same amount of protein as two cups of ‘Horlicks’.

The Court while evaluating rival contentions reiterated the well established principle that the medium of the advertisement is important to keep in mind and that the electronic media would have a far greater impact than print media. The Court further observed that comparison based on ‘serve size’ is permissible and selecting parameters to compare rival products is also allowed. However, the Court was of the view that the TVC was disparaging as there was no voice over in relation to disclaimer on ‘serve size’ and the duration of six seconds was not sufficient for consumers to read the disclaimer. Hence, Zydus was restrained from running the TVC in its present form.

[1] CS (COMM) 464/2019.

Published In:Inter Alia - Quarterly Edition - June 2020 [ English Chinese japanese ]
Date: June 30, 2020