GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd. & Anr v. Sarath Kumar Reddy G [CS(OS) 1141/2013] permanently restraining a Hyderabad based company namely, GSK Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. (hereinafter Party) from using the mark GSK as a part of their trade name.

Background:

GlaxoSmithKline had come across this party in April, 2009, through the website of the Registrar of Companies (ROC). It further came to their knowledge that party is using the acronym "GSK" as part of its trading "GSK Life Sciences Limited". On enquiries, the registered office was found to be a fake address in Hyderabad. Later certain posting of the party were found on LinkedIn and an address in Delhi. The business card of the party also reflected use of the GSK logo in the drop form inscribing the letters "GSK", similar to GSK logo. Attempts to settle the matter were not successful as the party took the stand that they are using "GSK" coined from the initials of founder/promoter, Dr. Gadikota Sarath Kumar Reddy. GSK also filed a complaint with Companies Registry objecting to the name. In view of unreasonable stand of the party GlaxoSmithKline proceeded to file suit for trademark infringement, passing off and damages at the Delhi High Court.

GlaxoSmithKline in support of its case contended that:

  1. "GSK" is an acronym derived from the company name 'GlaxoSmithKline' which is used by them since the year 2000.
  2. They are widely known and referred to as "GSK" and the said acronym and mark has become synonymous with their business.
  3. Use of the name/mark/logo 'GSK' in relation to pharmaceutical products amounts to infringement of its statutory rights in the mark "GSK"
  4. The mark/name "GSK" is a well known mark among the relevant trade and public therefore, deserves stronger protection.

Court Ruling:

It is evident that GlaxoSmithKline are the registered owners of the mark "GSK" in India in class 05 in relation to pharmaceutical and medicinal preparations. It is also evident that both parties are operating in the field of pharmaceuticals.

GlaxoSmithKline is using the acronym "GSK" in its corporate name as well as in its trade name. The party is, thus, infringing GlaxoSmithKline's registered trademarks. It is also apparent that the logo being used by the party is deceptively similar to the GlaxoSmithKline's logo.

The court thus proceeded to pass an order for permanent injunction restraining the party from using "GSK" as part of its trading name and GSK logo.