Patanjali exploited public fear says Madras HC, imposes Rs 10 lakh fine

'Patanjali Cannot Bulldoze Its Way To Trademark Infringement'-

  • In what comes as a setback to yoga guru and businessman Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved, the Madras High Court on Thursday, ruled against the company in connection to cases regarding the trademark 'Coronil'.
  • The court confirmed the injunction earlier imposed on Patanjali from using the trademark and slapped a fine of Rs 10 lakh for "chasing further profits by exploiting the fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for the coronavirus."

Case History-

  • Last month, Ardura Engineering had filed a plea in the Madras High Court against Patanjali Ayurved, claiming that the former had exclusive rights to the Coronil 92-B trademark till 2027.
  • Arudra, had registered 'Coronil 92-B' as its trademark back in June 1993 as per it's public records. The Madras High Court passed interim orders, barring Patanjali from using the 'Coronil' branding.
  • On Thursday, the court upheld those orders.

The view of the judges-

  • "The defendants have invited this litigation on themselves. A simple check with the Trademarks Registry would have revealed that 'Coronil' is a registered trademark," said Justice CV Karthikeyan in his order, "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."
  • Elaborating on his judgement, Justice Karthikeyan observed: "They (Patanjali) 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."

'Patanjali Exploiting Fear And Panic By Calling Immunity-Boosters A Cure'

  • The Madras High Court also fined Patanjali a sum of Rs 10 lakh for "exploiting fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for the coronavirus." The court observed that the company's Coronil tablets were merely immunity-boosters against cough, cold and fever, ruling that the defendants will have to pay the fine to "organizations helping people in this critical period, without seeking recognition."
  • The court thus ordered Patanjali Ayurved to pay Rs 5 lakh to Chennai's Adyar Cancer Institute and the Government Yoga and Naturopathy Medical College and Hospital, since both institutes, the court said, treating patients for free with no trademark claims.

What are your views on the decision of the court? Do you find the fine imposed on Patanjali reasonable? Let us know in the comments below.

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