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Godfrey Phillips India, DS Group in legal spat

Godfrey Phillips India (GPI), the country’s second largest cigarette-maker, is embroiled in a legal spat with DS Group, which makes Pass Pass mouth freshener, over slogans in the ads for chewing tobacco brands.

In April, GPI dragged DS to Delhi High Court alleging that DS had copied the advertising slogan for one of its brands. The brand in question is DS group-owned chewing tobacco Tulsi saada, for which it has been using the slogan ‘swad badi cheez hai’. GPI has alleged that DS has infringed on the tagline of its own chewing tobacco brand Pan Vilaas that has been using the slogan ‘shauq badi cheez hai’ since 2010. “The judge has declined to grant a stay against which we are now in the process of filing an appeal. The suit is sub-judice,” Harmanjit Singh, GM – corporate affairs, GPI said. Anuj Gupta, co-founding partner at ANM Global, the law firm that represented DS Foods, said: “The court order says slogans cannot have a copyright… so the ads for Tulsi saada are continuing with the slogan in question.”

GPI had said in its appeal to the court that the manufacturing, marketing, selling of DS group’s Tulsi saada pan masala using the slogan ‘swad badi cheez hai’ results in an ‘act of infringement of copyright, passing off, unfair competition and dilution’.