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24 September 2015Asia

Micro Labs TM claim allowed to proceed at Madras High Court

An Indian court has granted pharmaceutical company Micro Labs permission to sue a rival, despite there being questions surrounding whether the suit should be heard at the court.

The High Court of Judicature at Madras has ruled that Micro Labs can proceed with its trademark and passing off claim against Eris Life Sciences.

The decision, handed down by the court’s division bench, comes despite a single judge at the court initially ruling last year that Micro Labs could not file a lawsuit at the court because it did not have business in the jurisdiction.

At the centre of the claim is Micro Labs’s assertion that the name of the Olmin drug produced by Eris Life Sciences is too similar to its own drug called Olamin, used to treat toenail and fingernail fungal infections.

Micro Labs first filed a lawsuit at the court in 2011 alleging infringement and requested a permanent injunction preventing Olmin from being sold.

Eris Life Sciences hit back and claimed that because Micro Labs does not have an office in Chennai it had no grounds to sue within the area. The city of Madras changed its name to Chennai in 1996.

But Micro Labs claimed it was able to file the complaint at the court because the drug is sold within the region.

In the court’s 2014 judgment Micro Labs was deemed not to have grounds to sue within the region because the judge argued that section 134 of India’s Trade Mark Act required the plaintiff in a lawsuit to have a business location within the region.

Micro Labs appealed against the judgment prompting the latest ruling from the court’s division bench, a group of at least two judges that rule on disputes.

On September 15, Micros Labs found success after the court reversed the decision.

The division bench concluded that section 134 of the act allows for a company that carries out business within a region but doesn’t necessarily have a base there to proceed with a lawsuit.

Micros Labs has within three weeks of the judgment to file its claim.

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