WYETH CASE: RECKITT CHALLENGES HIGH COURT ORDER, TO FILE NEW APPEAL AGAINST COPYRIGHT VIOLATION

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IN A fresh twist to the ongoing legal battle between FMCG major Reckitt Benckiser and global drugmaker Wyeth over alleged copyright violation over their respective hair-removing creams, the former has appealed against a recent Delhi High Court order which went in favour of Wyeth.

   Reckitt Benckiser had, some months back, appealed in the Delhi High Court alleging that Wyeth had indulged in copyright violation.

   The new appeal is slated to get registered on November 25 in the Delhi High Court, said a person familiar with the matter.

   When contacted, a Reckitt Benckiser spokesperson declined comment stating that the ‘matter is subjudice’. A Wyeth spokesperson said in response to an email query: “An appeal has been filed by Reckitt which is way beyond the statutory limitation period.”

   Reckitt Benckiser had alleged that the Sshape design used for its hair removing cream Veet Spatula was copied by Wyeth for its Anne French hair-removing cream. This was rejected by a single judge.

   Reckitt Benckiser, which also makes Dettol, Cherry Blossom and Lizol, had alleged that the S-shape design used for its product ‘Veet Spatula’ was copied by Wyeth for its ‘Anne French’ cream since the design can be replicated easily. But Wyeth had countered that similar designs existed in other countries as well.

   Veet, one of Reckitt Benckiser’s global best-sellers, is a leading hair-removal cream. It was launched in India in November 2004, and is endorsed by film actress Katrina Kaif. Wyeth’s Anne French, on the other hand, is decades old, and is now endorsed by Kareena Kapoor.

   The hair remover category is estimated at close to Rs 200 crore, and is dominated by Anne French and Veet. Dabur’s Fem is the latest entrant in the category.

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