A trademark (mark) is a word, phrase, or symbol that distinguishes a company’s products from the products of others. Sometimes, mark protection can also extend beyond words and symbols to include other product aspects such as packaging and color. Registration of a trademark provides exclusive rights to the owner to use the marks for their business activities. Sometimes, entities illegally create marks deceptively similar to the registered ones for monetary gains or for enhancing their brand value. This unauthorized use leads to confusion about the source of goods as well as business losses. As a result, owner companies need to be vigilant about trademark infringement by other entities.
Thus, the following article sheds light on trademark infringement costing companies their reputation and revenue. Moreover, it also discusses how one can avoid such a scenario.
Also Read: Trademark Infringement: How to Avoid it?
Importance of Trademark Rights in Pharmaceutical Industry
Like every other industry, companies in the pharmaceutical industry register trademarks to protect their products from trademark infringement. However, despite the availability of these marks, many rival companies produce similar-looking or similar-sounding drugs. These not only affect the buying decisions of patients but also impact the revenue of owner companies. Furthermore, such mark similarities can also cause fatalities in patients purchasing the wrong drug. Thereby, this tarnishes the reputation of owner companies.
Therefore, it is imperative for pharmaceutical companies to constantly monitor their marks. This helps in identifying potential infringement and taking legal actions when required. Furthermore, considering the importance of pharmaceutical products and keeping the general public welfare in mind, law courts must decide wisely.
Also Read: A Guide to Trademark Registration in India
The Pharma Battle: Glenmark Pharmaceuticals vs. Curetech Skincare and Galpha Laboratories
Companies holding trademark rights need to constantly monitor their marks to avoid trademark infringement. Despite their efforts to prevent infringement, many of them still find their marks infringed. Moreover, we will discuss a famous infringement case between 3 pharmaceutical companies – Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Curetech Skincare, and Galpha Laboratories.
In this case, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals was the complainant. That company filed a lawsuit with the High Court of Bombay against the two defendants – Curetech Skincare and Galpha Laboratories. Out of the two, Curetech Skincare was simply a contract manufacturing company that was producing products on Galpha’s behalf. Hence, Curetech got the mark, labels, and other details by Galpha under a contract manufacturing deal.
The complainant said both defendants had sold products under the trademark – CLODID-B, which was similar to their CANDID-B, anti-fungal product. The plaintiff also asserted that the defendants had even replicated their wordmark, color scheme, trade dress, and font style.
Interestingly, both defendants argued that they had no intention of infringing the plaintiff’s trademark with their mark. Further, they agreed to submit to the decree and stated that they did not want to further contest the lawsuit.
Also Read: How to Conduct Effective Trademark Searches in the U.S
The Big Decision
The court seemed satisfied with the infringement arguments presented by the plaintiff against the defendants. It started determining the punishment for the defendants and pronouncing a decision. Before that, the court considered the fact that the defendants were habitual offenders. As a result, it levied damages of over 1 crore rupees on the defendants. Besides this, the defendants had to immediately withdraw and destroy all ‘CLODID-B’ marked products from the market. They had to file for cancellation of manufacturing permissions for the infringing products. Lastly, they had to refrain from indulging in such illegal activities in the future.
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The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff after finding conclusive evidence against the defendants. Moreover, they also found evidence of their blatant copies of the plaintiff’s products. Although the defendants agreed to adhere to the court’s orders, the plaintiff brought one of the defendant’s previous infringement activities. This led to the replication of the marks of several renowned pharmaceutical companies, to the court’s notice. Besides this, the court also found the same defendant guilty of repeatedly providing low-quality medicines to the public. Moreover, the defendant also frequently violated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. This meant that the defendant was a habitual law offender as well. Therefore, we believe the court’s decision of imposing hefty punitive damages instead of nominal ones was correct. This is because such habitual offenders encourage towards fearing infringing activities by imposing hefty damages.
Also Read: How to Conduct Global Trademark Searches Cost-effectively
Trademark Infringement Monitoring Services? – Choose TMReady
Trademark Infringement of registered marks is more common than one might think. While companies go to great lengths to secure trademarks, they usually fail to monitor them regularly. Habitual infringers who are always on the lookout for trademarks use such negligence to their benefit. To identify and stop infringers on time, companies must conduct regular trademark monitoring.
If you are one such company that is seeking trademark monitoring services, you must visit TMReady. Our Trademark Infringement Monitoring service helps brands to keep an eye out for trademark infringement around the world. We leverage conventional and non-conventional resources to track potential infringement while also helping customers protect their valuable brand names.
– The Editorial Team
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