The Designs Act of 2000 does not extend protection beyond what is required to create a mandatory incentive for design activity: Delhi High Court


Decided on:  16th August, 2023

+  CS(COMM) 1078/2018 & I.A. 11007/2018 (O-XXVI R-9 of CPC)




The Delhi High Court recently addressed a case involving a trademark dispute between Mankind Pharma Limited and Novakind Bio Sciences Private Limited. The key contention revolved around the use of the common suffix “KIND” in their respective trademarks. The Court’s decision emphasized the significance of maintaining clear distinction between pharmaceutical products to prevent confusion among healthcare professionals and consumers.


Mankind Pharma Limited, a prominent participant in the Indian pharmaceutical industry, adopted the trademark “MANKIND” as part of its trading style in 1986. The company incorporated the suffix “KIND” in the names of several pharmaceutical preparations it manufactured and sold. Mankind Pharma expressed concerns regarding Novakind Bio Sciences Private Limited’s utilization of the mark “NOVAKIND” for its pharmaceutical products. Mankind Pharma contended that the inclusion of “KIND” in Novakind’s mark infringed upon its registered trademark. Mankind Pharma issued a cease-and-desist notice to Novakind, urging it to desist from using the contested mark.

Analysis and Held

In the matter, a Single Judge Bench presided over by Justice C. Hari Shankar handled the case. The Court acknowledged that while physicians and chemists might prefer Mankind Pharma’s products due to their efficacy, the shared “KIND” suffix could lead to confusion. The Court stressed that even the slightest possibility of confusion is unacceptable when it comes to medicines, especially prescription drugs.

The Court pointed out that the use of the “KIND” suffix is not exclusive to pharmaceutical preparations. Consequently, individuals with average intelligence and imperfect memory could associate Novakind’s “NOVAKIND” product with the KIND family of marks owned by Mankind Pharma. This likelihood of association satisfied the legal requirement for infringement under Section 29(2)(b)10 of the Trade Marks Act. Both marks were found to be deceptively similar and used for identical goods, supporting the finding of trademark infringement.

The Court further emphasized that individuals with limited means, who rely on less expensive medical services, might be particularly prone to associating medicines with their manufacturers. Due to the varying effectiveness of the same drug produced by different companies, the Court highlighted the need for distinct trademarks to prevent confusion and potential health risks.

In conclusion, the Delhi High Court upheld that the trademarks of Mankind Pharma and Novakind Bio Sciences were deceptively similar. The Court endorsed Mankind Pharma’s concerns regarding potential confusion among healthcare professionals and consumers, leading to its decision against Novakind’s use of the contested mark.

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Written by- Ankit Kaushik

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