Business Standard

Fair play: Calcutta HC restrains HUL’S ‘Glow & Handsome’ mark

- ISHITA AYAN DUTT & SHARLEEN D’SOUZA Kolkata/mumbai, 10 April

The Calcutta High Court (HC) has issued an order of interim injunction, restrainin­g Hindustan Unilever (HUL) from using the mark ‘Glow & Handsome’ following an applicatio­n filed by Emami.

In its order passed on April 9, the court has granted HUL one month to take the necessary steps to comply with the order.

A spokespers­on for HUL said, “The Calcutta HC has issued an order of injunction for passing off after almost four years in a suit filed by Emami. We are reviewing the order and will take appropriat­e action.”

Commenting on the matter, Shwetank Ginodia, partner at R Ginodia & Co. LLP, said, “We are glad that the court has allowed Emami’s applicatio­n for interim injunction and restrained HUL from using the ‘Glow & Handsome’ mark. Emami’s stance that HUL has engaged in passing off has been vindicated.”

Emami was represente­d by a team led by senior advocate Ranjan Bachawat and Shwetank Ginodia.

Emami and HUL have been embroiled in a legal battle over the use of the ‘Glow & Handsome’ mark for four years.

In 2020, HUL rebranded its men’s range from ‘Fair & Lovely’ to ‘Glow & Handsome’. This move prompted Emami to immediatel­y challenge HUL’S use of the mark ‘Glow & Handsome’ before the Calcutta HC, alleging infringeme­nt and passing off of Emami’s mark ‘Fair and Handsome’.

The order states that the petitioner has successful­ly establishe­d a strong prima facie case on merits regarding the passing off claim. It further asserts that the balance of convenienc­e overwhelmi­ngly favours the orders being passed as requested by the petitioner.

Emami argued that ‘Glow & Handsome’ was deceptivel­y similar to its registered mark, with ‘Handsome’ being a prominent, leading, and essential feature of its mark, ‘Fair and Handsome’.

Emami also asserted that it was the first user and pioneer in the men’s fairness cream segment.

Fair & Handsome was introduced in 2005. Total sales of the product, as mentioned in the order, exceeded ~2,430 crore up to 201920, with advertisin­g expenses surpassing ~400 crore since 2005.

HUL countered that the term ‘Handsome’ was purely descriptiv­e and lacked distinctiv­eness. It argued that ‘Handsome’ was a generic term also used by other competitor­s in the industry and was not used as a standalone mark.

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