• Saumya Kapoor

OPPORTUNISTIC INFRINGEMENT IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC: DETTOL VS DEVTOL




In a recent case[1], the Delhi High Court, in a hearing convened via video conferencing, passed a decree of permanent injunction against the Defendant with respect to the infringing mark “Devtol” for sanitisers and imposed costs of Rs. 1 Lakh (approximately USD 1,325) on the Defendant.


The Plaintiff, i.e. Reckitt Benckiser, who is the registered proprietor of the trade mark “Dettol” for well-known antiseptic, approached the Court seeking various reliefs against the Defendant’s mark “Devtol” for hand sanitizers. The Defendant claimed that its mark provides protection against COVID-19. The marks as well as the images of the packaging are reproduced below:



Due to the pandemic and the increased demand for healthcare and sanitary products and medical supplies, there has been a spurt of start-ups who are rushing to meet the demands of the consumers. This has led to an increase in trade mark registrations in relation to these products which has also grabbed the attention of third parties who want to encash upon the recognition of well-reputed brands, which have been existing in these sectors for several years.



The counsel of the Defendant, which appeared on advance notice, stated that the Defendant will not manufacture and/or sell products under the infringing mark and has already taken steps to withdraw the infringing mark. Further, the Defendant has already written to its agents and dealers to withdraw products bearing the infringing mark from the market.


In view of the above, the Court, apart from imposing costs of Rs. 1 Lakh (approximately USD 1,325) on the Defendant , further directed him deposit the same to the Juvenile Justice Fund within one week. Further, the Court also ordered the Defendant to recall its existing stock from the market.


At a time when healthcare is of prime significance, counterfeiters of medical goods can prove to be fatal for the public. Thus, orders of this nature, aimed at creating effective deterrence amongst potential infringers are the need of the hour.



[1] Reckitt Benckiser (India) Pvt. Ltd. vs. Mohit Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd. & Anr

[1] Reckitt Benckiser (India) Pvt. Ltd. vs. Mohit Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd. & Anr

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