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Case Analysis: Sun Pharma Laboratories Ltd. v/s Cian Healthcare Ltd: False Use In Trademark Application

In the case of Sun Pharma Laboratories Ltd. v. Cian Healthcare Ltd. & Anr., the petitioner, Sun Pharma Laboratories Ltd., sought cancellation of the mark "MGalin" bearing Registration No. 3956223 in class 5 under Section 57 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The petitioner, a subsidiary of Sun Pharma Industries Ltd., is engaged in the business of marketing drugs and pharmaceutical combinations globally. The respondent, Cian Healthcare Ltd., is a registered company operating in the pharmaceutical industry. The petitioner alleged that the respondent obtained the registration of the mark "MGalin" based on a false user claim. After examining the submissions and evidence, the court concluded that the respondent's registration should be cancelled.

  • The primary issue in this case is whether the respondent's registration of the mark "MGalin" should be cancelled based on the petitioner's claim of a false user statement and the deceptively similar nature of the mark to the petitioner's registered mark "Maxgalin."
The court applied Section 57 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, which provides for the cancellation of a trademark registration obtained by making a false statement as to user. The court also considered the provisions of Section 18(1) of the Trade Marks Act, which define the criteria for being recognized as the proprietor of a trademark.

The petitioner, Sun Pharma Laboratories Ltd., established that it is the registered proprietor of the trademark "Maxgalin" since 2005 and has extensively used the mark for its medicine to relieve neuropathic pain. The mark has acquired goodwill and reputation due to its continuous use and substantial sales turnover. The petitioner argued that the respondent obtained registration for the mark "MGalin" based on a false user claim and sought to capitalize on the petitioner's goodwill.

The court noted that the respondent failed to file a reply or provide evidence to rebut the petitioner's assertion of a false user claim. It also observed that the marks "Maxgalin" and "MGalin" are deceptively similar, both visually and phonetically. The use of the marks in the same class for treating the same type of ailment further increased the likelihood of confusion among consumers.

The court further highlighted the lack of clarity regarding the respondent's filing of the registration application in 2018 when it claimed to have used the mark since 2003. The absence of supporting evidence for the claimed user date suggested that the application was filed to overcome the petitioner's use and registration. Consequently, the court held that the respondent's registration was obtained through a false statement as to the date of user, making it liable for cancellation under Section 57 of the Trade Marks Act.

Based on the analysis of the facts and applicable law, the court ordered the cancellation of the respondent's registration for the mark "MGalin." The court directed the Trade Marks Registry to remove the mark from the Register of Trade Marks. The decision emphasized the importance of protecting the rights of registered proprietors and preventing dishonest attempts to trade upon the goodwill and reputation of established trademarks.

Overall, this case serves as a significant precedent for upholding the integrity of trademark registrations and safeguarding the interests of genuine trademark owners. It reiterates the consequences of making false statements regarding the use of a mark in obtaining registration and underscores the court's commitment to maintaining fairness and protecting intellectual property rights.

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