Bombay High Court Decrees Against The Infringer For A Whopping Amount Of 1.5 Crs To Be Paid To Kerela Relief Fund)
Glenmark Pharmaceutical, which has been always vigilant of their products and IP rights was successful in instituting an IP infringement suit against Galpha Laboratories, which resulted in a distinct judgment and a whooping amount of 1.5 Crore damages to be paid by the infringer as a donation to Kerala flood relief.
Galpha Laboratories were involved with manufacturing of the infringing medical product under the infringing trademark "Clodid B" deceptively similar to the Plaintiff's famous medical product of Plaintiff – "Candid -B".
The Bombay High Court relied heavily on the judgment pronounced by Delhi High Court in the Win-Medicare Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Galpha Laboratories Ltd. & Ors.1, which declared the defendant a 'habitual infringer' as was evident from many cases that has been instituted against it by various parties such as Times Drugs and Pharmaceuticals (P) Ltd., Smithkline Beecham PLC and Jagsonpal Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
The plaintiffs highlighted that Galpha Labs has sold the impugned goods bearing the mark CLODID worth Rs 2.92 crores (approx). The Court also found out that Defendant's drugs and medicine do not meet the standard as prescribed by the Government authorities and FDA regulations and thus, raised concerns over the health of consumers and general public, who are being repeatedly cheated by the Defendant.
After repeatedly being sued by other pharmaceutical companies for their IP infringement and found guilty thereon, the Defendants were audacious to carry on manufacturing substandard, infringing medicinal product. Thus, the hon'ble Court held the Defendant liable and opined that they are a habitual offender with a set modus operandi of copying brands of other companies to make profits.
Although, the defendant submitted that he is willing to submit a decree and bring the present suit to an end. But looking at continuous and habitual act of infringement by the Defendant, the Court decreed against the defendant, a whopping amount of 1.5 Cr as damages along with permanently restraining them from using the infringed product. The Court also directed the infringing party to manufacture the product in compliance of FDA regulations.
Such serious damages were ordered by the Hon'ble Court to deter the infringer from infringing other products. Such judgment showcases firstly, the seriousness of the Judiciary with respect to the protection of intellectual Property, and secondly, the changing nature of punishment from mere penalty to punitive damages imposed upon the infringer as actual deterrent factor is when defendants have to participate in the proceedings and have to shell out money from their pockets.
Another prominent factor of this judgment was that the Court ruminated over the catastrophe that has hit Kerala recently, which has been categorized as L3 Level of Disaster by the National Disaster Management Guidelines. Therefore, the Defendant was directed to pay the damages to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund, with the consent of the Plaintiffs.
Such kind of damages decreed against defendants helps in maintaining transparency among public, thereby keeping faith among them and provides incentives to the entities in knocking the doors of the Judiciary for restoration and enforcement of IP rights.
1 Win-Medicare Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Galpha Laboratories Ltd. & Ors. reported in 2016 (65) PTC 506 (Del)
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