The State v. Jolly LLB 2 (“Jolly LLB 2”) isn’t having an entrance as cheerful as one would expect from its title, as it seems to have found itself in the middle of several legal issues. While their run in with the censor board was recently resolved, I will be focusing on the question of trademark disparagement, infringement and dilution with regards to their spat with Bata.


Although the Central Board of Film Certification (“CBFC”) had cleared Jolly LLB 2 for broadcast, the Bombay High Court ordered for the deletion of four scenes of the film. The Court held that the impugned scenes were “defamatory to the lawyers’ profession” and amounted to contempt of court.

Bata then issued a legal notice to the producers of the film, claiming that the trailer made an “objectionable and derogatory remark about the brand. It was additionally claimed that the dialogue “intended to convey that the brand is adorned only by the lower strata of society”, and one should feel “humiliated” by wearing Bata footwear. Further, Akshay Kumar (the actor to whom this statement was made), responded by slapping the actor making the dialogue. This was seen to be a “deliberate attempt to tarnish the brand image of Bata”. The legal notice reportedly even claimed that this was perhaps done at the instance of Bata’s competitors, few of whose products are promoted by Akshay Kumar.

In an order dated January 24, 2017, the Delhi High Court recorded that both parties had agreed to remove references to ‘Bata’ from the film, but issued summons to determine the extent of damages. As per news reports, Bata is claiming damages worth INR 3 crores.

This however isn’t the end of their worries, as Bata had additionally filed a criminal complaint in the Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Saket South District, alleging defamation. On February 8, 2017, the Court held that there was a prima facie case of defamation to be made out from the facts of the case. Bata had argued that millions of people had already viewed the trailer, which contained the “defamatory dialogue” and had hurt the brand image of the company.

This isn’t the first time that film producers have faced trouble from trademark owners, and a notable example of the same is Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’s run in with Hamdard National Foundation for the in-film references of ‘Rooh Afza’ that was said to portray the beverage in bad light. Perhaps that instance can be differentiated from the present matter, as Sai

Notes – the remarks made in the movie were an expression of taste, and would not lead to a loss of reputation and goodwill.

Jolly LLB 2 producers accept cuts; withdraws appeal from SC:

The producer of Akshay Kumar-starrer Jolly LLB 2 on Tuesday withdrew the appeal from the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order and said the cuts suggested by the court-appointed panel are acceptable to it.

A Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi allowed Fox Star Studio India, producer of the movie, to take back its appeal.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the producer said the deletions of certain scenes, suggested by the HC-appointed committee, are acceptable to it.

Bata might get Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Jolly LLB 2’ makers to back off:

Faced with a Rs 3 crore lawsuit from Bata for an allegedly defamatory comment, the makers of Jolly LLB 2 are likely to delete reference to the footwear brand from the film.

The film’s trailer, which was unveiled last month, showed lead actor Akshay Kumar engaged in argument with Annu Kapoor, who says, “Bata ka joota pehan kar, tuchchi si terricot ki shirt pehan kar, saala humse zabaan ladha raha hai.”

A month ago, legal firm Kocchar & Co, on behalf of Bata India, had shot off legal notices to Akshay, Fox Star and director Subhash Kapoor, over the ‘derogatory’ dialogue. Delhi High Court lawyer Neeraj Grover, partner at Kochhar & Co., informed, “A suit for injunction and damages of Rs 3crore has been filed by Bata against Fox Star studios (producers) and Jolly LLB 2 unit. Faced with the lawsuit, Fox Star undertakes to delete reference of Bata and immediately remove the trailers with defamatory reference.”

However, Bata will pursue legal remedies against the use of its name in Jolly LLB 2, said Grover, adding, “The producers cannot simply wash their hands off by submitting an undertaking to delete the defamatory reference after over a month of the release of trailer, which has received several million views.”


Trademark Disparagement:

       Disparagement with regard to trademarks is essentially the dishonest use of a trademark in advertisements. Section 29(8) of the Trademark Act (“Act”) provides for an action of infringement to lie in case an advertisement:

(A) Takes unfair advantage of, and is contrary to honest practices in industrial and commercial matters;

(B) Is detrimental to its distinctive character; or

(C) Is against the reputation of the mark.