Unilever Sri Lanka Limited, a leading bathing bar manufacturer in Sri Lanka, obtained an enjoining order in September 2018 preventing Nature’s Beauty Creations Ltd from advertising their soap ‘Chandi Panda’. The said ‘Chandi Panda’ advertisements claimed that bathing bars cannot be called ‘soap’ as bathing bars have a TFM of less than 76.5%. The advertisements also highlighted that some bathing bars contain low priced washing powder ingredients such as ‘Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate (SDBS)’.
After considering the written submissions of both parties, Colombo Commercial High Court vacated the enjoining order on 15th of February 2019, and also refused to grant an interim injunction requested by Unilever Sri Lanka Limited.
When delivering the order, the Hon. High Court Judge mentioned that Unilever Sri Lanka Limited has not come to court with clean hands and seems to have misled the Sri Lankan consumer.
Through the documents produced by Unilever Sri Lanka Limited, it was revealed in court that Unilever Sri Lanka uses ‘Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate’ (SDBS) in their bathing bars ‘Lux’ and ‘Lifebuoy’ in Sri Lanka, although the said chemical SDBS is not used by Unilever in their bathing bars sold in any other country. It was further revealed the said SDBS is the main synthetic detergent used for washing powders, dish wash, floor cleaners & similar harsh household cleaning products all over the world.
According to the documents submitted to court by Unilever Sri Lanka Limited, it is evident that ‘Lux’ and ‘Lifebuoy’, which are produced and distributed in Sri Lanka by them, contain high concentrations of Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate (SDBS). The above documents revealed that the SDBS percentage in ‘Lux’ is 3.1% to 4.1% whilst in ‘Lifebuoy’ the SDBS percentage is 4.6% to 5.1%. The defendant company Nature’s Beauty Creations Ltd had submitted evidence that an average dish wash contains only about 4% of SDBS which is the main cleaning detergent of a dish wash.
Further, through the documents submitted by Unilever Sri Lanka Limited, it has been revealed in court that the TFM values mentioned in some of their aforementioned bathing bars were also false, thus misleading the consumers.
With the above order, Nature’s Beauty Creations Ltd is now permitted to continue their ‘Chandi Panda’ advertising that claims bathing bars cannot be called soap and that some bathing bars contain washing powder ingredients such as ‘Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate’. Such advertisements will educate the consumers in differentiating toilet soaps from bathing bars.
Attorneys-at-Law Ms. Vishmi Fernando and Mr. Rehan Almeida, with President’s Counsel Mr. Chandaka Jayasundara, as instructed by Attorney-at-Law Mr. Upendra Gunasekara, appeared on behalf of the Defendant Nature’s Beauty Creations Ltd who manufactures the soap ‘Chandi Panda’.