Delhi HC orders OnePlus to stop airing Amitabh Bachchan ad

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has restrained Chinese mobile manufacturer OnePlus from airing its advertisement featuring actor Amitabh Bachchan following a copyright infringement plea by broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN).

In the BBDO India-created advertisement campaign, Bachchan is seen reinforcing OnePlus’ claim that its flagship product, OnePlus 3T, is the highest-rated smartphone listed on online retailer Amazon. The advertisement was shot on the lines of the popular game show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC), the rights of which are with Sony Pictures. The broadcaster had filed a petition seeking to stop OnePlus from airing the advertisement on grounds of copyright infringement.

The advertisement shows Bachchan and comedian Rohan Joshi of AIB fame playing KBC, wherein the actor quizzes Joshi on which is India’s highest rated smartphone. When Joshi throws the question back on him, Bachchan is seen taking the hot seat and asking for an audience poll.

After the campaign went on-air, SPN approached the court asking for an ex parte ad interim injunction.

“The ad in question was an extreme case of unfair competition and it infringes rules of intellectual property rights of the client,” said Abhishek Malhotra, managing partner at Arthe Law, which represented SPN in the case.

“We put the defendants on notice hoping that they will stop this brazen and illegal act. We were forced to go to court when we failed to get a response. What made the need for legal action even more necessary is that the defendants were actually glorifying the approach towards this type of advertising, even after receipt of the notice,” Malhotra said.

A single-bench court of Justice RK Gauba ordered BBK Electronics, the company which owns the OnePlus brand, to restrain from broadcasting the advertisement. “The defendant, their partners, affiliates… are restrained, till the next date of hearing, from broadcasting the impugned advertisement, titled ‘Best Smartphone Contest’, promoting sale of OnePlus 3T on any channel or on print or any other media…” Justice Gauba said in his order.