See you in court ?

Ambush marketing was at play again when Airtel sought to launch its DTH services. Airtel to build up pre-launch hype ran an ad campaign which teased viewers with the display of a red sofa and a voice over, “See you at home”. The wily advertisers at rival Big TV, a business concern of the Reliance Group subsequently ran a campaign which displayed a red sofa, used the voice over as well as displayed the Big TV brand prominently. This is reminiscent of Pepsi Co’s “nothing official about it” marketing campaign to counter Coca-Cola being the official sponsor of in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. It is apparent that such guerrilla advertising causes a loss of goodwill above the obvious gotcha!

So what are the legal recourses available in such a situation to Mr. Bharti Mittal against Mr. Anil Ambani ?? None, if you rely on ICC Development (International) Limited v. Arvee Enterprises and Anr (Ia №9854/2002 In Suit №1710/2002). The judgement after noting that the action falls outside the scope of the Trademarks Act notes that even a passing off action cannot be maintained! It states that “ambush marketing” is a business term and passing off actions do not cover it. Strange as it may sound there does not seem to be a developed body of law as well as any recourse for corporates who are victims of ambush marketing.

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