South Africa 25.10.2017 06:00 am

Judge says Sandton pharmaceutical company sought to exploit reputation of well-known brand, TCP

Picture: www.tcpdisinfectant.co.za/

Picture: www.tcpdisinfectant.co.za/

Tritof developed its own liquid disinfectant, 3CP, after TCP – which dates back to 1918 – disappeared from the local market in 2004.

The Belgian owners of the iconic TCP trademark has obtained an interdict to stop Sandton pharmaceutical company Tritof Enterprises from unlawfully infringing its trademark by using the name 3CP or any similar mark on its identical antiseptic product.

Judge Tati Makgoka not only ordered Tritof to remove the 3CP mark from all of its products and marketing material, but also directed it to take steps to have the domain name “3CP.co” transferred to Omega Pharma NV, which owns the TCP trademark.

If the marks could not be removed from the products, Tritof was ordered the destroy the items or deliver them to Omega Pharma and its local distributor, OmegaLabs.

In addition, Judge Makgoka ordered the Registrar of Trade Marks to cancel Tritof’s 3CP trademark and to remove it from the register of trademarks.

Tritof developed its own liquid disinfectant, 3CP, after TCP – which dates back to 1918 – disappeared from the local market in 2004, but Omega took the company to court after re-entering the market in 2015, only to find the rival 3CP on the same shelves in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Judge Makgoka dismissed Tritof’s application to expunge the TCP mark from the South African register of trade marks for non-use and also dismissed an attempt by Tritof to alter the register to reflect the TCP mark’s previous owners, McNeil Healthcare (UK) as the registered owners of the mark.

The Judge said Tritof undeniably sought to exploit TCP’s reputation and goodwill in the furtherance of its product.

Their advertising was based on the premise that the products were identical, that TCP was back as 3CP and that both products had exactly the same formula.

It targeted customers with prior knowledge of TCP. He doubted that any consumer who purchased 3CP would have done so without prior knowledge of TCP.

These customers would be deceived and confused not only by the statements associating 3CP with TCP, but also by the similar packaging. – ilsedl@citizen.co.za

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