Nanded-based Pharma Company sues Serum Institute for naming vaccine ‘COVISHIELD’
As the many pharmaceutical companies in India try to get their vaccine to the finish line, Serum Institute of India has hit a small but integral roadblock in regards to their product Covishield. A Nanded-based pharma company Cutis Biotech has filed a civil suit against SII for the latter’s use of the name “Covishield” in a Maharashtra Court.
Cutis (plaintiff) claims that they are the “lawful and prior” user of the name “COVI SHIELD” — and any identical and similar titles — that the company had trademarked in April 2020. The plaintiff has argued that SII had only applied for the trademark on June, and the Registrar of Trademarks had raised objection to Serum Institutes’ application citing the Cutis’ registration.
The problem surrounding the title emerges, as SII is one of three pharma companies that are currently leading for an emergency use authorisation for their products.
SII has had great public influence, and with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting their manufacturing facility, Serum Institute has appeared to be undeniably associated with the use of the title “COVISHIELD”.
“This has caused harm to the goodwill of the plaintiff due to the misrepresentation of its trademark by the first defendant (SII). Most importantly, it is causing confusion among the public as well as the manufacturers. Therefore, it is necessary to issue a perpetual injunction in favour of the plaintiff by restraining the defendant no.1 from passing off goods under the trademark ‘COVI SHIELD’ or ‘COVID SHIELD’,” says the plea.
Moreover, Cutis says that they had been facing issues with other medicinal orders placed before manufacturers using the name “COVI SHIELD”. The manufactures are of the belief that the title belongs to Serum Institute thanks to the latter’s large media presence.
The plaintiff also claims that SII has not taken any appropriate steps to stop using the trademark even after having knowledge about Cutis’ application. The Additional District Court at Nanded had issued a notice to the defendants of the suit, and the next hearing is on December 18.