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Chlorine War: HUL Hauls Eureka Forbes To Court Over Ad On Pureit  
Source:   Economic Times City   : NewDelhi Published On   03-10-2009  


THE rather arcane and technical subject of the use of chlorine to purify water took centre stage at the Bombay High court, which is hearing a defamation case Hindustan Unilever (HUL) against Eureka Forbes. HUL has accused Eureka Forbes of issuing an advertisement which allegedly disparages Pureit—its water purifier. The disparagement is because the ad mocks the taste of water passing through Pureit, attributing it to chlorine.

In the course of arguments on Thursday, the Eureka Forbes (EFL) counsels argued that Pureit uses a strong version of chlorine for purifying water. This form of chlorine, according to EFL, is normally used by swimming pools as it is long-lasting and continues to purify water over a longer period of time.

EFL counsels argued that municipalities across the world are now trying to move away from chlorine for purification. The EFL counsels further claimed that the form of chlorine used produces a by-product called Cyaneuric Acid which if comes in contact melamine is toxic and releases carcinogenic substances that have known to cause cancer if consumed.

HUL’s Pureit at Rs 2,000 targets price conscious consumers who may or may not change their battery kit on time. As a result there is a high probability that they continue using the Polisher beyond its usable date and therefore could be exposed to the carcinogenic substances. Justice SJ Kathawala questioned EFL about why it has suddenly become so concerned about consumer health and why was it silent since 2004, which was when Pureit was launched in the market. EFL however submitted proofs of print communication that they had released in leading dailies of south India, where Pureit was launched in 2004.

Responding to the ad, HUL has distributed notices to the trade about the use of chlorine in Pureit. The notice (a copy of which is with ET) refers to the EFL ad and then goes on explain in detail the purification process used by Pureit and then defends the use of chlorine. The notice also refers to the certification received by Pureit and awards won by it since launch.

EFL counsels strongly objected to the notice saying HUL cannot do something like this when the matter is sub judice. In response HUL’s counsel said they needed to respond to the Aquasure ad which remains on air.

Pureit since launch claims to have achieved leadership in the Southern market while Aquasure leads in the rest of the country. EFL has 65% of the Rs 1,400 crore domestic water purifier market that is still largely underpenetrated.

Eureka Forbes
ad mocks taste of water passing through Pureit, attributing it to chlorine
Eureka Forbes counsels told Bombay HC that Pureit uses a strong version of chlorine normally used by swimming pools
Responding to the ad, HUL has distributed notices about the use of chlorine in Pureit
Eureka Forbes has objected, saying HUL cannot issue such a notice when matter is sub judice

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