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Bombay High Court orders pharma company to deposit Rs 1.50 crore to Kerala Chief Minister's Fund


Mumbai, Aug 31: The Bombay High Court has ordered a pharmaceutical company to deposit Rs 1.50 crore towards the Kerala Chief Minister's Fund for flood relief work in a trademark infringement case.

Justice S J Kathawalla on August 28 held that Galpha Laboratories was a "habitual infringer" of various medicinal products, whose trademarks have been registered by other pharma companies. The court was hearing a suit filed by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals against Galpha Laboratories for allegedly infringing upon its medicinal cream products.

Bombay High Court

According to Glenmark, the defendant companies were selling a cream 'Clodid B' with the same design and pattern as that of Glenmark's 'Candid B' cream. The court accepted the arguments and noted that there has been a systematic copy of Glenmark Pharmaceutical's products. "Drugs are not sweets. Pharmaceutical companies which provide medicines for health of the consumers have a special duty of care towards them," Justice Kathawalla said in his order.

"These companies, in fact, have a greater responsibility towards the general public. However, nowadays, the corporate and financial goals of such companies cloud the decision of its executives whose decisions are incentivised by profits, more often than not, at the cost of public health. This case is a perfect example of just that," the court said.

The court directed Galpha Laboratories to deposit a sum of Rs 1.50 crore towards the Kerala Chief Minister's Fund to be used for the relief work in the aftermath of the recent floods. "Considering the catastrophe that has hit Kerala recently and the fact that Kerala flood situation is a disaster of serious nature, which has been categorised as L3 Level of disaster by the National Disaster Management Guidelines, Galpha Laboratories should pay the costs of Rs 1,50,00,000 as a donation to the Kerala Chief Minister Distress Relief Fund," the court ordered.

Glenmark in its suit claimed that this was not the first time that Galpha Laboratories was indulging in such infringements and claimed that they were habitual infringers. Taking note of the fact that several other pharma companies have also filed cases against Galpha Laboratories for alleged infringement in various courts, Justice Kathawalla said, "There is, therefore, no doubt in my mind that the Defendant No.2 (Galpha) is a habitual offender with a set modus operandi of copying brands of other companies to make profits."

The court initially said that Galpha would have to pay the sum to Glenmark. However, Glenmark requested the court to direct Galpha Laboratories to deposit the sum in any NGO. Following this, Justice Kathawalla directed for the money to be deposited in the Kerala Chief Minister's Fund. The court also accepted Galpha Laboratories' assurance that it would not infringe on any other products of any other company in the future.

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