, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – The High Court has consented to the consolidation of three cases in which Cipla, a global pharmaceutical manufacturing company is defending claims of trademark infringement lodged by Lords Healthcare in June this year.
Justice Francis Gikonyo sitting at Milimani Commercial Courts directed parties in the case, including the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) to appear before him on Thursday for general directions.
Justice Isaac Lenaola last week ordered that a case filed early last year by Lords Healthcare seeking interpretation of the Constitution with regard to the trademark tussle be referred to the Commercial Court since it raises issues similar to those in the application before the Commercial Court.
Cipla Limited, through Lawyer Evans Monari told Justice Gikonyo they had no objection to the consolidation since they believe that the Commercial Court can objectively interpret the Constitution.
Meanwhile, lawyer Sammy Muturi appearing for Lords Healthcare urged the court to discharge orders allowing Cipla to continue using its trademark claiming the orders are infringing on the plaintiff’s rights.
“The defendant has been enjoined in the orders from last December that infringe on the rights of the plaintiff applicant to enjoy the trademark rights,” submitted Muturi.
In his response, defence lawyer Monari said the court ought to hear the application substantively so as to allow all parties to enjoy their trademark rights.
Monari also brought to the attention of the court a ruling by Justice Lenaola in which the judge gave the Pharmacy and Poisons Board 30 days to resolve pending issues in the case to allow for a speedy conclusion.
Monari urged the court to allow the PPB time to conclude the process before setting hearing date.
Justice Gikonyo directed that the Pharmacy and Poisons Board appear in court on Thursday, alongside the plaintiff and the defendants so that parties can agree on how to proceed.
In the case file in June this year, Lords Healthcare had petitioned the court to hold Cipla Limited in contempt of court for infringing its trademark.
Cipla Limited maintains that it has been authorized to use the trademark in the country because as it’s registered under Class 5 of the Trademark law, which refers to: Pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary substances; infants’ and invalids’ foods; plasters, materials for bandaging; materials for stopping teeth, dental wax: disinfectants; preparations for killing weeds and destroying vermin.
Whereas Lords Healthcare (the plaintiff) registered the trademark under class 16,which refers to: Paper and paper articles, cardboard and cardboard articles; printed matter, newspapers and periodicals, books; book-binding material; photographs; stationery, adhesive materials (stationery); artists’ materials; paint brushes, typewriters and office requisites (other than furniture); instructional and teaching material (other than apparatus); playing cards; (printers’) type and clichés (stereotype).
Lords Healthcare had on June 23 sought a court injunction to bar Cipla Limited from using the trademark.
Cipla remains free to distribute its products in Kenya after the court ruled that their products covered by the Class 5 trademark should be excluded from injunction orders obtained by Lords.