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The Delhi High Court yesterday stayed screening or telecast of an advertisement featuring Amitabh Bachchan for Emami Ltd’s product Navratna oil on a plea by a city-based herbal products manufacturer, accusing the cosmetic giant of maligning its ayurvedic oil Himgange.

Justice Manmohan Singh stayed the screening, telecast or use of the advertisement on a civil suit by G K Burman Herbal India (Pvt) Ltd seeking permanent injunction for infringement of its trade marks and copy right violation and damages worth Rs 20 lakh.Justice Singh passed the order ex-parte and asked Emami Ltd not to issue any advertisement or circulate, distribute, telecast or broadcast any material defaming or maligning the Burman Herbal’s product.

In its plea, Burman Herbal India (pvt) Ltd said, “The defendant (Emami) has knowingly and fraudulently issued the said advertisement to harm the immense goodwill and reputation which the plaintiff has earned in the last 25 years of the existence of its said product with the sole motive of driving out healthy competition from the market and to make illegal and unlawful gains.”

Its counsel Ajay Sahani submitted before the court that the product Himgange Ayurvedic Oil was authored by company’s founder Gautam Kumar Burman in 1987.

He also claimed that the product contains distinctive artistic features in the shape of a green background label which has the trade mark “HIMGANGE” in a distinctive artistic vernacular font in yellow colour, below which the expression ‘Ayurvedic Teil’ is written in white artistic vernacular font. The lawyer contended that the artistic packaging of Himgange is part of the company’s goodwill and it is the plaintiff company, which has the sole and exclusive right to use or reproduce the said label/packaging to the exclusion of all others and sought the court for an order to Emami to withdraw its advertisements from TV channels and other media

The lawyer also sought the court’s direction to Emami to destroy all CDs and other electronic data storage medium, while also seeking damages of Rs 20 lakh from the cosmetic giant for its alleged “unlawful and illegal activities.”According to the plaint, Emami has released an advertisement ‘Navratna Extra Thanda Teil’ on one of the television channels early this month, degrading and disparaging its product Himgange Ayurvedic Oil.

The plea said the advertisement depicted Himgange users as possible idiots who make themselves a laughing stock in society and suffer from inferiority complex, giving rise to suicidal tendencies in them.The Emami advertisement professes that in order to acquire sophistication, smartness and social accessibility in society it would be far wiser to use the competing product of the compared to that of the plaintiff, the plea said.

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