NOT PLAYING “NISE”

Our Associate, Caroline Mathews discusses “NOT PLAYING “NISE”

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited v. Pureca Laboratories Private Limited, granted an ad-interim injunction to Dr. Reddy’s against the defendant, Pureca Laboratories (“Pureca”) use of the mark PURE NISE-P on and in relation to tablets for a combination drug of Nimesulide with Paracetamol.

Dr. Reddy’s, one of India’s largest pharmaceutical companies, alleged that it is the owner of several NISE and NISE formative trade mark registrations in Class 5, dating back to the year 1998. Further, Dr. Reddy’s has used these marks on and in relation to the drug Nimesulide since as early as 1995. Pureca, a Delhi based pharmaceutical manufacturer, was manufacturing and supplying tablets for a combination drug of Nimesulide with Paracetamol under the name PURE NISE-P. 

A comparison of the packaging of the rival products is shown below.

Pureca’s PURE NISE-P Tablet

Dr. Reddy’s NISE Tablet

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Dr. Reddy’s alleged that Pureca’s unauthorized use of the mark NISE-P on and in relation to the drug Nimusulide not only infringed upon its rights in its registered NISE marks, but Pureca was also passing off its goods as that of Dr. Reddy’s. On the other hand, Pureca contended that its mark PURE NISE-P, taken as a whole, is distinguishable from NISE.

The Court compared the packaging of the rival goods and rejected the argument put forth by the Pureca. The Court held that the word PURE was written very innocuously on the packaging of Pureca’s goods and NISE-P was written in bold letters. 

The Court concluded that owing to the near identity of the marks and the goods, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories had made out a prima facie case for the grant of an ad-interim injunction. Pureca Laboratories was therefore barred from using the PURE NISE-P mark until the next hearing. 

Citation: Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited v. Pureca Laboratories Private Limited, CS(COMM) 221/2020, Order dated July 3, 2020 by the Delhi High Court.