18 November 2019


High Court of Madras

Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited v. Cadila Healthcare Ltd. and ors.



Intellectual Property Rights

Medicinal products should be clearly distinguishable

Public interest supports a lesser degree of proof showing confusing similarity in trade mark, even if two medicinal products are not identical or of the same chemical nature.

The petition, brought by Sun Pharmaceuticals, sought injunction against Cadila Healthcare’s use of the mark, ‘Venz’, which it claimed to be phonetically, visually and structurally similar to ‘Veniz’.

Sun Pharmaceuticals registered ‘Veniz’ for use medicines used in the treatment of depressive and psychotic disorders, in 2000. However, registration was limited solely to that word, and Sun was prevented from exclusive use of the word and any suffixes.

Granting injunction against Cadila’s use of ‘Venz' and similar marks, the court noted “drugs are poisons, not sweets”, and confusion between medicinal products would be life threatening. It added, “the frailty of human nature and the pressures placed by society on doctors, there should be as many clear indicators as possible to distinguish two medicinal products.”


Beiersdorf A.G. vs. Ajay Sukhwani and Anr. MANU/DE/1631/2008
Cadila Health Care Ltd. vs. Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd. MANU/SC/0199/2001
Living Media India Ltd. & Anr. vs. M. Hussain & Ors. MANU/DE/2306/2013

Tags : pharmaceutical trade mark confusing similarity drug names

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