Home-grown FMCG firm Emami on Thursday strongly objected to Hindustan Unilever rebranding its men's range of skincare product as 'Glow & Handsome', threatening legal action while claiming trademark rights over the name.
In response, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) said it is "fully conscious" of its rights and position and will protect it fully in all appropriate forums".
Earlier, HUL announced its decision to rebrand its flagship skincare cream 'Fair and Lovely' as 'Glow and Lovely', with the men's range of products being rechristened to 'Glow and Handsome'.
The HUL's decision to drop the word 'fair' in its brand name, announced on July 2, came against the backdrop of a global backlash against racial stereotyping.
"We are shocked to learn of HUL's decision to rename its men's range of Fair & Lovely as 'Glow & Handsome'. Emami Ltd, the maker of 'Fair and Handsome' brand of men's grooming products, is the market leader in the men's fairness cream with legal ownership of the trademarks," said an Emami spokesperson.
Emami said it will be consulting its legal experts to address this issue as it has already changed its men's fairness cream's name to 'Emami Glow & Handsome'.
On Emami's claims, an HUL spokesperson said, "We don't wish to make any comment on the statement made by them. We are fully conscious of our rights and our position. We will protect it fully in all appropriate forums."
The Kolkata-based Emami group said it was "although shocked" but not surprised to note HUL's "unfair business practice which has been prevalent time and again to damage our brand image".
HUL on Thursday informed about rebranding its popular skincare cream Fair & Lovely as 'Glow & Lovely' after dropping the word fair in its name, as per its earlier announcement.
According to the company, it is taking a more inclusive vision of positive beauty while introducing Glow & Lovely — the new name for the brand.
While, HUL's men's range of its products will be called 'Glow & Handsome', the company said in a statement.
"Over the next few months, Glow & Lovely will be on the shelves, and future innovations will deliver on this new proposition," the statement said.
As part of the rebranding, HUL will also be announcing a new name for the Fair & Lovely Foundation, set up in 2003 to offer scholarships to women to help them pursue their education, the statement had said.
HUL, a subsidiary of British-Dutch multinational company Unilever PLC, had approached the Controller General of Patent Design and Trademark to get the name 'Glow & Lovely' registered.
Several cosmetic brands have been under the scanner over their products that promote skin fairness for stereotyping racial types, which intensified further in the wake of 'Black Lives Matter' movement in the West.
Recently the US healthcare and FMCG giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has stopped the sale of its skin-whitening creams globally, including India.
French personal care maker the L''Oreal Group also last week said it will drop words such as 'white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening' from all its skincare products.