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May 2, 2024

Delhi High Court Upholds Pfizer’s Exclusive Ownership of Viagra Trademark, Bars Competitors from Using Similar Marks

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In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court reaffirmed Pfizer’s exclusive rights to the trademark ‘Viagra’, a renowned medication for treating erectile dysfunction. The court’s decision in the case of Pfizer Products Inc v Renovision Exports Private Limited marked a significant victory for the American pharmaceutical giant, setting a precedent for trademark protection in India.

The legal dispute emerged when Pfizer accused Renovision Exports of marketing products under the ‘VIGOURA’ mark, allegedly infringing on Pfizer’s ‘Viagra’ trademark. Renovision’s products, labeled as “Nervine Tonic for Men” and “Homeopathic Medicine Invented in Germany,” raised concerns about consumer confusion and trademark dilution.

Pfizer’s legal team argued that Renovision’s use of similar marks and marketing strategies could mislead the public about the origin of the products. Despite Renovision’s claims of distinction based on differences in composition and intended use, the court found the ‘VIGOURA’ mark deceptively similar to ‘Viagra’, warranting trademark infringement action.

Justice Sanjeev Narula’s verdict highlighted Pfizer’s extensive efforts to establish and protect the ‘Viagra’ trademark. The court emphasized the uniqueness of the term ‘Viagra’, which Pfizer created and popularized without any pre-existing meaning in the English language or standard dictionaries. Supporting evidence, including international registrations, regulatory approvals, and inclusion in reputable dictionaries, further solidified Pfizer’s ownership of the trademark.

In granting a permanent injunction against Renovision Exports, the Delhi High Court barred the company from marketing its homoeopathic medicine under the ‘VIGOURA’ mark. The ruling underscored Pfizer’s rights to prevent competitors from using marks that could cause confusion among consumers, protecting both the company’s reputation and consumer interests.

This landmark decision reaffirms the importance of trademark protection in India’s pharmaceutical industry and serves as a warning to companies attempting to exploit well-established brands for commercial gain. It emphasizes the need for businesses to respect intellectual property rights and avoid engaging in activities that could infringe on the rights of others.

Moving forward, the ruling sets a precedent for stricter enforcement of trademark laws, ensuring that companies like Pfizer can continue to innovate and invest in developing new medications without fear of unauthorized use or misrepresentation by competitors.

In conclusion, the Delhi High Court’s decision reaffirms Pfizer’s exclusive ownership of the ‘Viagra’ trademark and sends a clear message about the consequences of trademark infringement in India’s pharmaceutical market.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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