In a big setback to Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved, the Madras High Court on Thursday made absolute, the injunction earlier imposed on the company from using the trademark "Coronil" in relation to its products being marketed as immunity boosters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legal news website BarandBench.com has reported.
Last month, an interim injunction was passed in favour of Chennai-based Arudra Engineering Private Limited, which had registered the trademark for 'CORONIL-92 B' as an acid inhibitor product for industrial cleaning and chemical preparations for industrial use in June 1993.
While dismissing pleas moved by Patanjali and the Divya Yog Mandir Trust to vacate this ex parte interim injunction order, Justice CV Karthikeyan has also slapped a Rs 10 lakh fine to be paid jointly by the two defendants.
"The defendants have invited this litigation on themselves. A simple check with the Trade Marks Registry would have revealed that 'Coronil' is a registered trademark. If they had, and had still, with audacity used the name 'Coronil', then they deserve no consideration at all. They cannot assume they can bulldoze their way and infringe a registered trademark. They must realise there is no equity in trade and commerce. If they had not done a check with the Registry, then they are at fault. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence and seek indulgence from this court. Either way, indulgence is refused," Justice Karthikeyan remarked in his judgment passed on Thursday.
The court concluded that Patanjali and the Divya Yog Mandir Trust (defendants) have infringed Arudra's (plaintiff) trademark rights on the following grounds:
The Court went on to remark,"... the defendants have repeatedly projected that they are Rs 10,000 crores company. However, they are still chasing further profits by exploiting the fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for the Coronavirus, when actually their 'Coronil Tablet' is not a cure but rather an immunity booster for cough, cold and fever."
The court added that, "The defendants must realize that there are organisations which are helping the people in this critical period without seeking recognition and it would only be appropriate that they are made to pay costs to them."
In view of these observations, the Judge proceeded to direct the defendants to pay Rs 5 lakhs each towards the Adyar Cancer Institute and the Government Yoga and Naturopathy Medical College and Hospital, Arumbakkam, where, "treatments are afforded free of cost without any claim to either trademark, trade name, patent or design, but only with service as a motto."
The court has ordered that the costs be paid up by August 21.