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Plea to discontinue use of name ‘Covishield’ rejected by Bombay HC

2 min read

Aryan Grover

A division bench of the Bombay High Court, comprising of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice CV Bhadang, has dismissed an appeal filed by Nanded-based pharmaceutical which sought to restrict the Serum Institute of India Private Limited from using the name for their vaccine. Cutis Biotech claimed that the name belonged to them.

While rejecting the plea, the court observed that such an order might create confusion and hamper the national vaccination drive that is underway.

Since the vaccine was already well-known and neither company owned the trademark over the name, the court was not under any obligation to grant the prayer of Cutis Biotech.

Advocates Abhinav Chandrachud and Aditya Soni informed the court that Cutis had applied for a trademark under the Trademark Act, 1999, last year, and had subsequently initiated a trademark suit agsinst the SII in January at the Pune commercial court to seek interim relief by way of injunction till the outcome of the suit was decided.

The district court had earlier also refused to grant such injunction to Cutis, following which, it had approached the High Court.

It had noted that the products of both companies were different and there was no chance of any confusion in the mind of the public.

The HC bench observed in its ruling, “That ‘Covishield’ is a vaccine to counter coronavirus is now widely known. A temporary injunction directing SII to discontinue the use of mark ‘Covishield’ for its vaccine will cause confusion and disruption in the vaccine administration programme of the state. In this case, thus, the grant of an injunction would have large-scale ramifications traversing beyond the parties to the suit.”