SUPREME COURT BARS MUMBAI-BASED GUFIC BIOSCIENCES FROM USING CLINIQ TRADEMARK

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THE Supreme Court has set aside a Delhi High Court division bench order that allowed Mumbai-based Gufic Bio Sciences to continue using the trademark ‘Cliniq’ on its skincare products, on an appeal by the $8-billion retail giant Estee Lauder.

Estee Lauder had appealed against the division bench order of the High Court, which in May 2009 had vacated the injunction order granted by the single bench of the Delhi High Court in December last year that prevented Gufic Biosciences from selling skin care consumer products under the ‘Cliniq’ brand name. The single bench had upheld that using the trademark Skin amounted to infringement of Estee Lauder’s world-famous mark Clinique.

“The special leave petition stands disposed off, the parties have been told to complete the pleadings in the appeal before the division bench and now the matter will come up for hearing in August. In the meanwhile, Gufic will have to restrain from using the trademark ‘Cliniq’ or any other trademark deceptively similar to the trademark Clinique,” the counsel for Estee Lauder, and partner of IP law firm Lall Lahiri & Salhotra, Rahul Chaudhry said.

“The court noted that the division bench had acted in unnecessary haste in passing the order at the stage of admission itself and was therefore not sustainable,” Chaudhry added. Clinique is one of the three leading global brands of Estee Lauder. It was launched in 1968. The brand also figures among the company’s top products in India.

Gufic Biosciences sells a range of herbal skin care products in India under its consumer division Skin, Cliniq. This includes its first and top selling brand StretchNil, a stretch mark minimising lotion. This product alone accounts for bulk of the company’s Rs 8-crore sales from the consumer product division.

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