Fri, 15 Sep 2000

Court dismisses Nestle's lawsuit against Andec

JAKARTA (JP): The North Jakarta District Court dismissed on Thursday the lawsuit filed by Swiss-based food products producer PT Nestle Indonesia against New Zealand-based milk producer PT New Zealand Milk Indonesia Andec over an advertising flap.

Presiding judge M. Hatta Ali said the panel of judges dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that it was incomplete, failing to name as defendants all the parties involved in producing and publishing the advertisement.

In its lawsuit, Nestle only named Andec and advertising agency PT Poliyama, which produced the advertisement for Andec, as defendants.

Hatta said Nestle should also have named as defendants the media which published the advertisement.

"As far as an advertisement is concerned, it always involves three parties: the company which is advertising its product, the advertising company which makes the advertisement and the mass media which publishes the advertisement," Hatta said.

The dispute centers around an advertisement placed by Andec in eleven local magazines and tabloids with national circulations in November and December last year to promote its milk product, Andec Full Cream.

Nestle accused Andec of violating the advertising industry's code of ethics by attacking Nestle's Dancow milk in the advertisement.

Nestle said Andec, through its advertisement, was seeking to convince the public its product was better than Dancow by comparing the two's nutrient contents.

Andec did not explicitly mention Dancow in its advertisement, but the company used a symbol associated with Dancow, Nestle claimed.

A lawyer from Nestle sent letters to Andec and Poliyama accusing them of breaching advertising standards and violating the principle of fair competition. The letter demanded the two companies publicly apologize to Nestle or face a lawsuit.

Andec and Poliyama went to the Indonesian Association of Advertising Agencies for help in settling the matter.

The association's Indonesian Advertising Committee (KPI), which handles disputes in the industry, ruled that Andec was at fault in the matter and ordered the company to withdraw the advertisement. But in its ruling, the committee failed to address Nestle's demand for a public apology from Andec and Poliyama.

Nestle then filed a lawsuit against the two companies with the North Jakarta District Court.

After the court delivered its decision, Nestle lawyer Dini C. Tobing-Panggabean of Lubis, Santosa & Maulana Law Office said she would file an appeal.

She dismissed the judge's reason for rejecting Nestle's lawsuit as baseless, saying the mass media which published Andec's advertisement had nothing to do with the dispute. "I think the mass media has it own rules in deciding whether to publish advertisement."

Andec lawyer Hafzan Taher appeared pleased with the decision. "Actually, the dispute between Nestle and my client was settled by KPI. There was no need to take the case to court." (02)