NOVARTIS AG V OBVIELINE [2014] ATMO 79

Novartis opposed the Australian designation of Obvieline’s International Registration for SYNECTHA, covering pharmaceutical goods in Class 5.

The opposition was based largely on the opponent’s prior SYNACTHEN registration, which also covers pharmaceutical goods, and section 44 was the only ground considered by the Hearing Officer.

Noting the relevant authorities, the Hearing Officer surmised; ‘my task is to determine what is memorable about the two trade marks and so decide, having regard to the similarity of impression created by the marks and to the other factors just mentioned, whether there is a real and tangible likelihood of confusion or deception’.

The Hearing Officer noted the common elements between the two trade marks and deemed it likely that members of the public who might purchase over-the-counter pharmaceuticals would be likely to suffer deception or confusion as a result of the opponent’s prior trade mark.

Accordingly, the opposition succeeds under section 44 and the designation refused protection in Australia.

To view the Office decision, click here.