DRL wins fight over Reddy trademark

Written by Sajan C Kumar | Chennai | Updated: Nov 2 2013, 09:44am hrs
In a relief to Dr Reddys Laboratories (DRL), the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has ordered removal of Reddy trademark in pharma class, which was given to a Delhi-based pharma company. The impugned trademark had been registered in favour of Reddy Pharmaceutical, in respect to medicinal and pharmaceutical preparations, in 2005.

The IPAB bench comprising S Usha, vice-chairman, and V Ravi, technical member, observed: ...Everything points to the fact that the respondent (Reddy Pharmaceutical) has deliberately adopted the impugned mark to deceive the public and is in every way a willful misrepresentation to the customer... In the result, the appeal is allowed and registered trademark Reddy in Class 5 (pharma products) is removed from the register.

Reddy Pharmaceutical applied for the registration of the impugned mark on April 17, 2003, and the registration certificate was issued on May 25, 2005. Within six months, DRL filed for the cancellation of the impugned mark. The applicant, DRL, adopted trademark Dr Reddys in 1984 and started using it since then. They had applied for the registration on June 22, 2001, in various classes.

According to the counsel for DRL, the respondent was agent for the applicant for nearly 10 years and suddenly it surfaced in 2003 posing as an independent entity. The applicant rushed to the Delhi High Court in 2003 and the court bailed it out.

The IPAB bench said: The board at first got the impression that the respondent was an affiliate or subsidiary company of the applicant and not a competing business rival...

However, the respondent counsel argued that his company had been engaged in the business of marketing pharmaceutical preparations, basic drugs and medicinal formulations since 1996. The name of the company had been derived from the name of its founder and MD Konda Raghu Rami Reddi.

..The applicant had never used Dr Reddys as its trademark. Moreover, the drugs in question are scheduled drugs that are dispensed by trained and qualified pharmacist and are not goods which are purchased from the shelves by consumers. The competing packages have nothing in similar in terms of colour combination or lay out..., the counsel said.

The bench said that while the applicant was the first to apply for registration in 2001, the trademark registry had erred in accepting an application by the respondent for a similar mark subsequently in 2003.