In this case, Cipla Limited, the Respondent/Plaintiff, filed a suit for permanent injunction before the Madras High Court. The suit was against Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited, the Applicant/Defendant, as it infringed the Respondent/Plaintiff’s copyright and registered trademarks as follows:
1. The Applicant/Defendant imitated and substantially reproduced the artistic packaging, trade dress and labels of the Respondent/Plaintiff’s ‘BUDECORT RESPULES’ and ‘DUOLIN RESPULES’ which amounted to infringement of their copyright in artistic works. These were Budeonide Nebuliser Suspension BP, Levosalbutamol and Ipratropium Bromide Respirator Solution which were used in treating patients with respiratory ailments.
2. The Applicant/Defendant used the mark ‘RESPULE’ by calling their medicine “Budefex Respules” and “Duoz Respules” which amounted to infringement of Plaintiff’s registered trademark.
3. The Applicant/Defendant used packaging identical to Respondent/Plaintiff’s packaging for ‘Budesonide Respules’ and ‘DUOLIN Levosalbutamol Respules’ which amounted to passing off of their goods.
The aforementioned acts of the Applicant/Defendant gave it an unfair advantage in the market and proved detrimental to the well-known trademark and copyright of the Respondent/Plaintiff.
In this suit for permanent injunction against the Defendant’s infringing acts, the Respondent/Plaintiff filed three applications before the Court and prayed for the grant of an interim injunction against the Applicant/Defendant. The Court perused the averments made in the affidavit as well as the colour label of both the parties and opined that an identical colour label was adopted by the Applicant/Defendant imitating that of the Respondent/Plaintiff. Hence, the Court passed an order for an interim injunction on 30.04.2021, and restrained the Applicant from marketing its product with an identical colour, design, and wave design till 02.06.2021.
Aggrieved by the same, the Applicant/Defendant on 03.04.2021, filed three counter applications to vacate the interim order granted. The plea for vacation was based on the fact that existing stock was of a huge amount and carried an expiry date of 1 year. The Applicant/Defendant brought to the court’s notice that its drug was in demand because of the ongoing pandemic as they helped in relieving the Covid-19 symptoms, and it was directed to report to the Union Health Ministry about the stock and position. Applicant/Defendant also prayed the Court to allow it to sell its existing stock with a thoroughly different packaging in the public interest, which the Respondent/Plaintiff alleged was an attempt to infringe its intellectual property rights.

The issue which came before this Court was as to whether or not the ad-interim order granted in favour of the Respondent/Plaintiff should be vacated on the ground of urgency as pleaded by Applicant/Defendant.

The Court held that the interim injunction shall continue to remain in force subject to the final decision of the suit and dismissed the said applications filed by the Applicant/Defendants for vacation of the interim order.

The Court remarked that they could not be a mute spectator to a party violating another person’s intellectual property rights, notwithstanding the angle of public interest due to the demand for the drugs manufactured by both. Hence, upheld the interim injunction as the balance of convenience continued to be in favour of the Respondent/Plaintiff.