An infringement suit is filed when an unauthorized person uses a mark similar/ identical to another person’s trademark. In such case the Plaintiff can ask for the Defendant to be stopped from using the infringing mark in any manner whatsoever, till the matter is decided. The grant of injunction is a crucial step towards ensuring that the defendant does not derive undue profits from the use of the Plaintiff’s mark during the pendency of the suit.
Recently we appeared in a matter before the Ld. District Judge wherein our client is a renowned company which manufactures several premium pharmaceutical/ nutraceutical products. They own many Trademarks and the case pertained to one such mark that is registered in their name.Our Client came to know that the Defendant had been using a mark that nearly resembles their mark. The Defendant’s mark was phonetically and structurally identical to our Client’s mark, whose mark was distinct, arbitrary and coined. Further, the Defendant’s mark is unregistered and has the same chemical composition as that of our Client’s products.
We filed an infringement suit praying to the court,among other reliefs, to stop the Defendant from using the mark.
Notice was issued to the Defendant, who failed to appear, despite due service of summons.
It was argued before the court that interim injunction be granted in favour of our client, restraining the Defendant from using the unregistered mark that is deceptively similar to our Client’s registered mark.
It was brought to the attention of the Court that the product being a nutraceutical preparation, if injunction is not granted, the customers would be the ultimate sufferer. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in Cadila Healthcare Limited vs Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited 2001 (2) PTC 541 SC, has observedthat as any confusion with respect to pharmaceutical trademarks could have dire effects on public health, lesser degree of proof is required in such cases. The Apex Court held – “The tests of confusing similarity are modified when the goods involved are medicinal products. Confusion of source or product between medicinal products may produce physically harmful results to purchasers and greater protection is required than in the ordinary case. If the goods involved are medicinal products each with different effects and designed for even subtly different uses, confusion among the products caused by similar marks could have disastrous effects. For these reasons, it is proper to require a lesser quantum of proof of confusing similarity for drugs and medicinal preparations.”
It was also brought to the attention of the Ld. Court that our Client’s mark is registered and the mark of the Defendant is unregistered; is totally identical and deceptively similar and contains same ingredients as the product of our client; hence protection should be accorded to the registered mark.
Further, the Court was also appraised that the infringing mark was such that it was not only phonetically similar to the registered mark but the difference was merely of an alphabet, which had been changed by the Defendant in an attempt to cause confusion in the minds of the present and prospective users.
The Ld. Court took note of the contentions raised by us and was pleased to grant interim injunction, restrained the Defendant, his agents, etc. from producing, selling, offering to sell, and deal with in any other manner in the product under the infringing trademark, until further orders.