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Delhi HC order strengthens Glenmark's position in trademark dispute with Sun Pharma

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Thursday, August 24, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In the trademark dispute between Glenmark Pharma’s Indamet and Sun Pharma’s Istamet, the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court (HC) issued an order suggesting the need for a more in-depth consideration of the case.

The court order, delivered after hearing arguments from both sides, underscored the lack of substantial evidence to establish similarities between the products at the heart of the dispute – a prescription drug for diabetes by the respondent (Sun Pharma) and an asthma treatment drug by the appellant (Glenmark).

Furthermore, the court drew attention to the distinctive nature of the products and their packaging. Glenmark's drug is not meant to be taken orally which is also highlighted in terms of the warning on its packaging. It is in the form of a capsule and is administered through inhalation using a dry powder inhaler (DPI), making it unlikely for consumers to confuse it with the respondent's diabetes medication. The court also emphasized the absence of medical literature or peer studies provided by the respondent to prove any adverse effects on diabetics due to confusion about the products.

While the court acknowledged the legal principles governing trademark disputes, it indicated that the impugned judgment appears to present substantial questions warranting deeper examination beyond mere discretion. As a result, the court ordered a stay of the impugned directions as contained in Para 31 of the judgment dated July 3, 2023, and set the next date for the appeal's consideration on September 5, 2023.

The ongoing legal battle between pharmaceutical giants Sun Pharma and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals centers around Glenmark's trademark application for "Indamet." Sun Pharma filed oppositions against it, asserting that the mark is confusingly similar to its own "Istamet" mark, both visually and phonetically. On June 16, 2022, Glenmark launched a unique fixed dose combination drug for uncontrolled asthma branded as "Indamet." This drug, distinguished from Sun Pharma's "Istamet"/"Istamet XR CP," is packaged as an inhalable capsule using a dry-powder inhaler, while the latter is in tablet form. Both drugs necessitate prescriptions and are placed under different schedules for intake.

 
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