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Court said that in making repeated direct and brazen references to the product Real of Dabur India Limited, Rathee crossed the Lakshamanrekha or the Rubicon.
A single-judge bench of Justice Ravi Krishan Kapur of Calcutta High Court recently directed You tuber, Dhruv Rathee, to remove the offending and targeting portions from a video which includes any reference to Real fruit juice.
Dabur India Limited is a leading manufacturer and distributor of Fast Moving Consumer Goods that sells fruit juices and readymade beverages under the brand Dabur. The brand name is also registered under class 32 of the Trademark act.
Dabur claimed that on February 14, 2023, Dhruv Rathee uploaded a video of 21 minutes and 59 seconds on his youtube channel. The video specifically targets and disparages packaged fruit goods. It unfairly compares carbonated soft drinks with RTS fruit beverages. Therefore, Dabur filed a suit for the protection of intellectual property rights.
Dabur contended that the video also informs the public that drinking bottled fruit juice causes hair loss and is harmful if consumed. It was also contended that it aggressively warns consumers not to consume packaged fruit juices and strongly advises against giving packaged fruit juices to children.
Further, Dabur stated that the video makes a clear, direct, and audacious reference to the products sold under the "Real" brand name.
The petitioner also claimed that the Youtuber intentionally and maliciously obscured the registered mark/logo "Real Fruit Power" and directly targeted the petitioner's product, damaging its reputation and further also used some slides from the petitioner's promotional advertising videos.
On February 15, 2023, Dabur requested Rathee to remove the video, but in the reply dated February 17, 2023, he refused to do the same.
The court noted that there were no submissions made from the respondent's side.
The bench after listening to all the contentions of the petitioner observed that the petitioner had established a strong prima facie case on the merits. "The balance of convenience and irreparable harm is likewise in favour of the issuance of orders, because the petitioner's product Real has been expressly targeted, denigrated, and discredited in the impugned film," Court said.
"The publication and distribution of the challenged video violate Section 29 (9) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the Copyright Act, 1957", the court stated.
The court also referred to restrictions given under Article 19 (2) of the Indian Constitution and stated that the interests of the consumer and public must be safeguarded.
Accordingly, Rathee has been directed not to use any logo of Dabur's real brand of products.
The next date of hearing is March 22 2023.
Case Title: Dabur India Limited vs. Dhruv Rathee & Ors.
Statute: The Trade Marks Act,1999 and the Copyright Act, 1957.
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