Southwest Pharma defends right to Sanlietong after 10-year dispute

Southwest Pharma defends right to Sanlietong after 10-year dispute


The Supreme People's Court sealed the 10-year legal battle between Swiss pharmaceutical giant F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG and Southwest Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., affirming Southwest Pharma's trademark right to Sanlietong.

Roche licensed the manufacture of Saridon painkillers to Southwest Pharma in 1987. After the partnership expired in 1992, Southwest Pharma filed a trademark application for Sanlietong to the Trademark Office (TMO) under the
State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and then applied for Sanlitong (identical Chinese characters with Saridon). Roche challenged the registrations.

Followed by both an intermediate court and high court in
Beijing affirming invalid trademark right Southwest Pharma petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court held that when Southwest Pharma applied for registration of Sanlietong and at the time it was approved for registration, Sanlietong was not a registered trademark. The two parties marking Sanlitong on their joint Saridon painkillers, they should be deemed to mark the generic name on products rather than using of an unregistered trademark. Roche has no ground to challenge the trademark right. Southwest Pharma practiced properly when registering Sanlietong.

Source: China IP News

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