The Calcutta High Court recently restrained various social media influencers (“Respondents”) from communicating offending portions of their videos/posts and making any reference to Unilever Industries Private Limited (“Petitioner”) or their frozen desserts under their trading names, Hindustan Unilever, HUL and their brands Kwality Walls, Cornetto and Feast (“Petitioner’s Marks”) in social media videos/posts.
It was the Petitioner’s case that the Respondents were running negative campaign against the Petitioner’s frozen desserts by disseminating misleading information through their social media videos/posts, directly and blatantly rubbishing the Petitioner’s products.
The Court prima facie noted that all these videos/posts make a direct reference to the Petitioner and its marks, disparages and is detrimental to the reputation and distinctive character of the Petitioner’s Marks. The Court noted that freedom of speech and expression is not absolute and by making a direct and clear reference to Petitioner’s products in the disparaging manner, the Respondents have crossed the Rubicon.
Accordingly, the court granted an interim injunction in the Plaintiff’s favour and restrained the Defendant from communicating the offending portions of their videos/posts to public.
Unilever Industries Private Limited and Ors. vs Naresh Gehani and Ors. at High Court of Calcutta [CS/66/2023]