Unilever Pakistan among four companies issued show-cause notices for ‘deceptive practices’

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued show-cause notices to four companies for, prima facie, violating the Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.

According to details, a show-cause notice was issued to Unilever Pakistan Limited for prima facie deceptive marketing practices. Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan Ltd sent a formal complaint that UPL was distributing false/misleading information by making absolute claims regarding its products, Lifebuoy soap and hand wash.

The inquiry report concluded that Unilever Pakistan was harming other undertakings’ business interests and misleading consumers by making absolute claims regarding the aforementioned products. Some of the claims were: “100pc guaranteed protection from germs”, “World’s No. 1 germ protection soap”, and “99.9pc germ protection in 10 seconds.” The disclaimers about these claims were printed in tiny fonts and were hardly noticeable.

In another case of deceptive marketing practices, a France-based company, Kennol Performance Oil, sent a formal complaint to CCP against three Pakistani firms — Kennol Petroleum (Pvt) Limited, Dewan Oil Store, and Japan Lube Petroleum — for copying the packaging of its product, Kennol Ultima 20w60.

Kennol Performance Oil stated that its product ‘Kennol’ was registered in France and with the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) in Pakistan, and that it has not authorised any other firm to use the name in Pakistan. Hence the respondents, Kennol Petroleum, Dewan Store and Japan Lube, were misleading consumers about their products.

The CCP’s inquiry concluded that the trademark belonged to Kennol Performance Oil, and no one in Pakistan was authorised to use it. The commission further concluded that Kennol Petroleum, Dewan Stores, and Japan Lube were engaged in copycat packaging of Kennol performance oil’s product to deceive consumers and harm its business interest. Both these actions were a prima facie violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act.

The CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices including deceptive marketing practices.

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