Trademark Litigation: ‘Advantage’ of Settlement

This post was originally published on 18th December, 2011.

Bayer and Cipla have recently settled trade mark litigation with respect to Advantage and Advantix trade marks.  These trade marks were registered by Bayer at the USPTO and are being used for veterinary products. Cipla has been marketing one of its pet products under the trade mark, DA Double Advantage with the aid of an online supplier called Archipelago. Aggrieved by Cipla’s actions, Bayer filed a suit in a US court asking for a  preliminary injunction against use of the trade mark. The parties have now  settled the dispute out of court.

As per the settlement, Cipla has agreed to refrain from using the trade marks, DA Double Advantage and Advance for its animal products. It also agreed to pay a compensation of around two hundred  thousand dollars for use of the trade mark and attorney costs. Furthermore, it has been reported  that Cipla also agreed to refrain from making products covered by Bayer’s patent.

A quick peek at recent IP litigation in India indicates that settlement of IP disputes is generally favoured by parties over fighting the case till the end. Litigation is used by many companies to show intent of enforcement and seriousness to safeguard their  IP interests. Many cases are settled after initiation of the suit or preliminary orders. Courts also encourage parties to settle disputes to avoid long drawn battles that are more often than not unproductive. Settlements are more common in entertainment and pharma sectors as impact of cases on business interests is much higher in these fields.

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