Glaxosmithkline to pay N1.2b as damages
LAGOS- A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered Glaxosmithkline Plc (GSK) to pay N1.2 billion to Continental Pharmaceutical Company (CPL) as damages for its trademark infringement.
Delivering judgment in the 16-year-old suit, Justice James Tsoho also awarded another N150,000 against GSK as exemplary cost after CPL claimed that they appeared about 50 times during the case.
Tsoho, however, refused to award CPL relief that sought a N1,000 per printed copy cost on the proceeds of the infringed trademarks prescribed under Section 20(1) of the Copyright Act.
He held that the plaintiff’s 40551 trade mark and device was valid and subsisting and, therefore, the defendants infringed on the plaintiff’s trademark.
“The defendants illegally adopted the plaintiff’s trademark to deceive the buying public in an attempt to pass out their Panadol as the plaintiff’s product,’’ he said.
The judge held that the defendants’ submissions were inconsistent, adding that “ it was wrong for the defendants to assume that the ownership of copyright between an employee and employer can be the same’’.
Also joined in the suit were the Glaxosmithkline Consumer Nigeria Plc, Smithkline Beecham Plc and Glaxogroup Ltd.
The plaintiff, (CPL) had in the suit urged the court to declare that in its registered trademark, RTM 40551, was valid and subsisting and had been infringed by the defendants.
CPL also sought the relief of N1 billion as special damages against the defendants jointly and severally for infringement of the copyright in the artistic work of the registered trademark.
It had also wanted the court to award to CPL N1,000 per infringing packet (copy) under Section 18 of the Copyright Act, Cap 68, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.
But the defendants in their defence denied infringing on the trade mark right of the plaintiff.
They contended that the trademark Panadol was registered in Nigeria as N0 8785 in Class 3, which meant that it was a word mark without a device or logo.