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3 September 2018Asia

Bombay court finds company liable for infringing Glenmark TM

The Bombay High Court has imposed Rs 1.5 crore ($211,110) of costs on a pharmaceutical company which infringed India-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals’ trademarks.

On Tuesday, August 28, Justice SJ Kathawalla held that Galpha Laboratories had infringed Glenmark’s trademarks covering ‘Candid’, a line of medicinal creams, through the sale of ‘Clodid’-branded products.

Kathawalla said: “The defendant has blatantly copied the word mark, art work, colour scheme, font style, manner of writing, trade dress of the plaintiff's product ‘Candid’ to the last millimetre.”

The court said that it was generally lenient in infringement cases where the defendants show a willingness to submit to a decree, but this was not one of those instances.

“This is a case where the conduct of the defendant is not only dishonest but also audacious and such which displays no regards to the authority/rule of law,” explained Kathawalla.

Glenmark also claimed that Galpha had been infringing its trademarks since 2003, when Glenmark sent a cease-and-desist notice to Galpha over the use of ‘Ascodil’, a copy of Glenmark’s ‘Ascoril’.

Taking into account that other pharmaceutical companies have successfully sued Galpha over the years for infringement or passing off, Kathawalla concluded that Galpha was a “habitual infringer”.

“Drugs are not sweets. Pharmaceutical companies which provide medicines for health of the consumers have a special duty of care towards them,” said Kathawalla.

He added that the corporate and financial goals of such companies sometimes cloud the minds of executives whose decisions are incentivised by profits—“more often than not, at the cost of public health”—before noting that the case is a perfect example of this.

Although the court initially said that Galpha would need to pay Glenmark, Glenmark requested that the funds go towards a charitable organisation. The costs will now go to the Kerala Chief Minister Distress Relief Fund, in light of the flooding that hit the state of Kerala in August.

Galpha was also ordered to remove the infringing goods from the market and destroy them.

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