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  • Writer's pictureAnkita Sabharwal

High Court allows sale of existing stock of medicines in a trademark dispute citing Public Interest

In a recent trademark dispute[1], the Delhi High Court permitted the Appellant to sell its existing stock (pending further orders) without vacating the interim injunction against the Appellant. The Delhi High Court characterised this as an ‘interim arrangement’ required to serve public interest.

The suit was instituted by the Respondent alleging trademark and copyright infringement and passing off with respect to its registered trademark ‘LABDIC RELIEF’ (for pain relief tablets) and related product packaging.

An ex-parte interim injunction was granted in favour of the Respondent, thereby restraining the Appellant from using their infringing trademark ‘ALDIGESIC PAIN RELIEF’ or any other similar mark and also from using trade dress / product packaging similar to that of Respondent’s packaging. The Appellant approached the Hon’ble Court under Section 151 of the Code for Civil Procedure, seeking permission to sell its existing stock. The Appellant was in possession of stock worth INR 90 lakhs at the time of making such application.

The court was of the view that balance of equities would be maintained if the appellant is permitted to sell existing stock (subject to maintaining a record of the sales for computing a claim of damages). The Court further held that since the quality of the medicines manufactured by the Respondent were not in question in the present case, public interest would be well served if the Appellant was allowed to sell its existing stock.

While the Delhi High Court continued the ex-parte interim injunction, its decision to permit the Appellant to continue to sell its existing stock has been an issue of conjecture in the IP lobbies. However, orders of this nature, are aimed at larger public interest and not merely the stakeholders.

[1] Alkem Laboratories Ltd vs M S Laborate Pharmaceuticals


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