Tamil Nadu

Pay ₹10 lakh for exploiting fear of COVID-19: Madras HC to Patanjali

A photo of the kit released by Patanjali. Photo: Twitter  

The Madras High Court on Thursday came down heavily on Patanjali Ayurved Limited and Divya Yog Mandir Trust for attempting to make money by exploiting the prevailing fear around COVID-19. It directed them to pay costs of ₹10 lakh to the Adyar Cancer Institute and the Government Yoga and Naturopathy Hospital in Chennai.

Justice C.V. Karthikeyan held there was no due cause for Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. and Divya Yog Trust to name their tablets as Coronil when the medicines were not a cure for the novel coronavirus. “There is no cure for coronavirus anywhere in the world as on date. People are dying. In these tragic times, the defendants seek to make money, money, money.”

“They seek to exploit the fear among the people by projecting that they could cure coronavirus. There is no cause, much less due cause, to permit the defendants to use the word Coronil… Usage of the word Coronil and common pictorial image of coronavirus [on the pack] are, to put it very mildly, misleading and cannot be permitted,” the Judge said.

The orders were passed while dismissing an application preferred by Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. and Divya Yog Trust to vacate an interim injunction granted by the court on July 17 restraining it from using the word Coronil for the tablets which were reportedly projected as a cure for COVID-19 but later marketed as immunity boosters against cough, cold and fever.

The injunction was granted following a trademark infringement suit filed by Chennai-based industrial equipment cleaning company Arudra Engineers Limited, which had been using the registered trademarks Coronil-92B and Coronil-213 SLP, since 1993, for its chemical agents used to remove corrosion from industrial equipment.

Justice Karthikeyan concurred with senior counsel P.R. Raman, representing the plaintiff company, that the defendants had invited the present litigation upon themselves and they could have avoided it if they had made a simple check with the Trademarks Registry as to whether Coronil was already a registered trademark or not.

If they had checked and still “with audacity used the name Coronil, then they deserve no consideration at all. They cannot assume they can bulldoze their way and infringe a registered trademark. They must realise there is no equity in trade and commerce,” the Judge said and made the interim injunction absolute (till the disposal of the suit seeking permanent injunction).

Observing that Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. and Divya Yog Trust must realise that there were organisations in the country which had been helping people even in the critical period without seeking recognition, the Judge said the Cancer Institute as well as the Government Naturopathy Hospital provide treatment free of cost without any claim for trademark, trade name, patent or design.

He ordered that those two institutions must be paid ₹5 lakh each before August 21 and a memo in that regard must be filed in the High Court Registry by August 25.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 7:12:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-comes-down-heavily-on-patanjali-ayurved-for-exploiting-peoples-fear-of-covid-19/article32286166.ece

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