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Madras HC suspends order restraining Patanjali from using term ‘Coronil’

A Division Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday suspended for two weeks the operation of an order passed by a single judge on August 6 restraining Patanjali Ayurved Limited and Divya Yog Mandir Trust from using the term ‘Coronil’ for their tablets and imposing a cost of ₹10 lakh on them for commercial exploitation of the fear around COVID-19.

Justices R. Subbiah and C. Saravanan suspended the single judge order following a joint appeal preferred by the trust which manufactures the tablets and gets them marketed through Patanjali. The decision was taken after hearing senior counsel C. Aryama Sundaram and Satish Parasaran who insisted on an interim stay until their appeals were heard finally.

Suit by Chennai firm

The single judge had granted the injunction on a trademark infringement suit filed by Chennai-based Arudra Engineers Limited which had been reportedly using registered trademarks ‘Coronil-92B’ and ‘Coronil-213SLP’ for more than 20 years for marketing its chemical agents used to clean heavy industrial machinery and keeping them free from corrosion.

Referring to absence of any connection between the plaintiff company’s products and the ayurvedic tablets marketed by Patanjali and also their customer base being completely different, Mr. Sundaram said: “The learned single judge’s order needs a strong second look. Otherwise tomorrow, LG Asafoetida powder company can also file a case against LG Electronics.”

Adverse remarks

The senior counsel also wondered how could the single judge make adverse remarks against Patanjali with regard to alleged commercial exploitation of COVID-19 situation and even go to the extent of imposing costs of ₹10 lakh in a trademark infringement suit. “These observations have made newspaper headlines and totally ruined my reputation,” he said.

Insisting upon an interim order until the disposal of the appeal, he said the ayurvedic medicines were being sold only as Divya Coronil tablets and that Patanjali maintains full statement of accounts regarding the sale. Mr. Parasaran said Patanjali and Divya Yog Mandir Trust would suffer irreparable damages if the single judge’s order was not stayed.

Senior counsel P.R. Raman, representing Arudra Engineers, said as per Section 29(4)(c) of the Trademarks Act of 1999, there was no necessity for the infringed mark to have been used by the offending company for same kind of product or business. It was sufficient for the plaintiff to show that its registered mark had a reputation in the country and that it had been used by another company / individual without due cause.

After hearing both sides, the judges decided to suspend the single judge’s order for two weeks and then take up the appeal for final disposal.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 10:56:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/madras-hc-suspends-order-restraining-patanjali-from-using-term-coronil/article32360048.ece

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