US-BASED DRUGMAKER ALCON WINS TRADEMARK CASE AGAINST INDIAN RIVAL AJANTA PHARMA

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US-BASED drugmaker Alcon has won a trademark case against Indian rival Ajanta Pharma, preventing the latter from selling its popular eyedrop under the brand ‘Travaxo’ in India. The Bombay HC gave an injunction in favour of Alcon and barred Ajanta from using ‘Travaxo’ on grounds of trademark infringement. The medicine directly competes with Alcon’s ‘Travatan’ in the highly competitive Rs 33,000-crore drug retail market.

Alcon, with over $4.4-billion global sales, manufactures and markets ‘Travatan’, an eyedrop meant for the treatment of glaucoma and has worldwide registrations for the mark in several countries, including India. “It is improper to use similar sounding names for medicines as they can create confusion, ” said DSK Legal partner Mustafa Safiyuddin, who represented Alcon.

Alcon argued Travaxo was similar to Travatan and moved HC to stop Ajanta from selling the drug using the name Travaxo. It also alleged that Ajanta had breached the Alcon copyright in its literary work in ‘product insert’. Ajanta in its defence said there was no similarity between Travatan and Travaxo and the name of the medicine was derived from the ingredient Travoprost.

When contacted, Ajanta officials declined to comment. Indian courts in the recent past have ruled in favour of the original trademark holder. The same court ruled in favour of Swiss major Roche’s drug Valcyte against Cipla’s similar drug Valcept.

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