Fairness cream name row: Interim relief for HUL against Emami
In an interim relief to Hindustan Unilever (HUL), which recently dropped the word 'Fair' from its skin cream for men and renamed it 'Glow and Handsome', the Bombay High Court on Monday said FMCG firm Emami, that has its own 'Glow & Handsome' cream, shall give HUL seven days prior notice before initiating legal proceedings on trademarks.
Justice BP Colabwalla was hearing an application filed by HUL under the Trade Marks Act seeking injunction against Emami from issuing "groundless threats" in view of the use of its trademark 'Glow and Handsome'.
HUL in its application said the defendant (Emami) should give it at least seven days prior written notice before initiating any legal proceedings in any court or claiming any interim relief against HUL as threatened in the statements made by Emami.
The court after hearing preliminary arguments observed that "prima facie" it does appear that HUL was the prior adopter of the mark as it had filed its trade mark application first in September 2018 and subsequently on June 25, 2020.
"The statements made by the defendant (Emami) do amount to a threat, however, whether they are unlawful or groundless, that is something that will have to be decided after hearing both the sides," the court said.
The bench directed Emami to give HUL seven days prior written notice before initiating legal proceedings against it and posted the matter for further hearing on July 27.
As per the application, HUL, in 1975, launched a fairness face cream Fair & Lovely which was initially gender neutral.
To specifically target the men's segment, in 2006, HUL launched 'Fair & Lovely, Men'.
HUL said in 2018, it coined and adopted the trademarks 'Glow & Lovely' and 'Glow & Handsome'.
On July 2, 2020, HUL made an official announcement that 'Fair & Lovely' was being rebranded as 'Glow & Lovely' and its skincare range products for men will be called 'Glow & Handsome'.
However, Emami then gave press statements threatening legal action against HUL for violating its alleged rights in its mark 'Emami Glow and Handsome', HUL claimed in its application.