Recently, the Madras High Court on July 17, 2020 granted an ad interim injunction restraining Patanjali Ayurved Limited from using the mark “CORONIL” till July 30, 2020 in respect to “immunity booster tablets” that can help prevent coronavirus. (M/s.Arudra Engineering Private Limited v. M/s.Patanjali Ayurved Limited).

Justice CV Karthikeyan issued the interim injunction upon finding that Chennai-based Arudra Engineering Private Limited had registered the trademark for ‘CORONIL-92 B’ as an acid inhibitor product for industrial cleaning and chemical preparations for industrial use, as early as June 1993. The Court granted the plea for interim injunction, remarking that “the similarity in the name is obvious. The name used by the defendant is the same. The spelling is same.”

During the course of hearing, Arudra submitted that they filed the suit against Patanjali after becoming aware of its claims that they have conducted successful clinical trials and developed a medicine under the name “CORONIL” that can cure coronavirus. They added that there are no official reports to such claims and the Defendant’s product has been banned in the state of Maharashtra and the State Government of Uttarakhand had sought details of the effectiveness of the medicine as propagated by the Defendant. They further said that even after the suit was filed, they have received reports of Defendant’s products being sold in Hyderabad. The Plaintiff further contended that they have substantial sales using the trademark “CORONIL” and have garnered reputation in the market. In this regard, the Judge noted that “The list of customer companies shows that huge industrial units like BHEL, NTPC Limited, Reliance industrial Ltd., Indian Oil Corporation and other such companies are the clients of the plaintiff.”.

The Court after listening to the submissions from both parties proceeded to restrain the Defendant from using the mark “CORONIL” till July 30, 2020 reasoning:

It is seen that the plaintiff has a registered trademark Coronil and the registration still subsists. Once the plaintiff has a registered trademark, protection has to be given from infringement. The law is clear on that aspect. The defendant has also claimed that he is going to market his product in the same name ‘Coronil’. The defendant can also market their product, but they have to use a different name. They cannot infringe upon the right accrued to the plaintiff owing to the registration of the trademark Coronil as early as 1993, which registration still subsists.”

Thereafter, Patanjali had moved the court last week seeking to vacate the stay. Patanjali claimed that the trademark infringement suit is a part of a larger conspiracy to cause damage to its business and also requested the Court to restrain the media from reporting the case. The company claimed that if the injunction is not vacated, then the people of the country will not be able to have access to the “immunity booster tablets” needed to fight against the virus. When the plea came up in front of Justice CV Karthikeyan, the Court refused to grant the interim relief and adjudged the hearing to 27th July 2020. As per latest reports, the Court has reserved its verdict and has extended the interim application until it delivers orders on the application to vacate it.

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