Ranjan Narula Associates
                                         June, 2014

Trade Marks
Delhi high court holds HEPROTEC similar to HEPITEC
Glaxo Group Ltd (Glaxo) initiated an action before the Delhi High Court for protecting its brand HEPITEC which was being infringed by a Mumbai based company, United Biotech (United) by using the mark HEPROTEC.

Glaxo asserted before the Court that the mark HEPITEC was a coined word having no dictionary meaning. It further argued that the product under mark HEPITEC is highly popular and has a high degree of reputation and goodwill in India and abroad for treatment of liver related ailments. Glaxo came across the unauthorized use of the mark HEPROTEC by United for treatment of similar ailment related with liver.

United countered the submissions of Glaxo by contending that the suit has been filed out of trade rivalry as the mark HEPROTEC is neither identical nor deceptively similar with the Glaxo’s mark HEPITEC. United in its argument highlighted various features in both products that were different i.e. drug ingredients, form of drug, schedule and manner of sale and price to argue that there was no chance of medicines under the name HEPROTEC being confused with the medicine sold under the mark HEPITEC.

The court after examining the above issues based on the settled principles of law governing pharmaceutical marks held that prima facie the mark HEPROTEC of United was deceptively similar to the registered trademark HEPITEC of Glaxo. Court further held that the two marks are phonetically and structurally similar as almost the entire mark HEPITEC has been copied by deleting word “I” and inserting “RO” in the middle.

With respect to the contention of the United that the words HEP and TEC are common words used in the trade and no one is entitled to exclusive protection, the court held that no details to the extent of use and date of use was provided and hence the said contention was primarily rejected.

All rights reserved ©RNA,IP Attorneys