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9 November 2016Asia

GSK triumphs in trademark suit in India

Pharmaceutical company GSK has triumphed in a trademark infringement dispute in India.

On November 2, the High Court of Delhi granted GSK a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from using the ‘GSK’ mark as part of its trade name and from using the “deceptively” similar logo.

The case stemmed from the use of the acronym ‘GSK’ by a company called GSK Life Sciences, based in India.

UK-based GSK alleged that this use came to the company’s attention in April 2009.

It also claimed that upon further enquiries it found that GSK Life Sciences’ registered office was a fake address and that no balance sheet or annual returns had been filed by the company.

“The plaintiffs further state that the business cards used by the defendant’s representatives show that they are not only using the mark/name ‘GSK’ as part of their trade name but are also using the logo in the drop form inscribing the letters ‘GSK’, which is exactly similar to the plaintiffs’ logo,” said the court.

In the suit, GSK claimed that GSK Life Sciences’ use of the ‘GSK’ name, mark and logo in relation to pharmaceutical products amounted to infringement of its trademark rights in ‘GSK’ based on section 29(5) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

“It is further claimed that the mark/name ‘GSK’ is a well-known mark as per section 2(1)(zg) read with section 11(6) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, and therefore deserves stronger protection,” said the court.

GSK sent a cease-and-desist letter to Gadikota Sarath Kumar Reddy, one of the directors of the company. According to the suit, Reddy claimed that the company was using ‘GSK’ as the letters represent some of his initials.

Despite issuing a permanent injunction, the court refused to grant damages to GSK, claiming that the company had not put forward concrete evidence to indicate the extent of the defendant’s sales or to quantify the loss caused.

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