22 November 2011
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners successfully defends the IP rights for Russia’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturer

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners has successfully represented Antiviral, a Russian pharmaceutical manufacturer, whose products include Antigrippin-Maximum and Antigrippin-ANVI, in a dispute with Natur Produkt International, in regards to the intellectual property rights of Antigrippin trademarks.

The Russian Federal Antitrust Service initiated an investigation of unfair competition under the application of Antiviral, a company of Protek Group, one of the Russia's largest pharmaceutical companies. The application asserted that the Antigrippin trademark had been used in the market long before it was officially registered by Natur Produkt International.

On November 7, 2011, the Russian Federal Antitrust Service held Natur Produkt International to have used unfair business practices under Article 14.2 of the Federal Law "On Protection of Competition". The antitrust authority found that Antigrippin may not be monopolised by any company in the branding of its products, because medicines generally branded as Antigrippin have been produced by pharmacies, sold to consumers and known in the pharmaceutical industry since the 1970s.

The client was represented by the Competition Law Practice Team of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, including Natalia Korosteleva, Partner and Head of Practice, Evgeny Bolshakov, Senior Associate, and Oxana Akhmedova, Associate.

"Irrespective of the recent decision made by the Chamber for Patent Disputes (Russian Patent Office) to keep in force the legal protection of one of Natur Produkt International's trademarks, we have to say that Antiviral may file with the Russian Patent Office the Federal Antitrust Service's decision against Natur Produkt International to invalidate the legal protection of trademarks that contain Antigrippin in order to finalise the decision on not permitting the usage of the disputed brand", commented Natalia Korosteleva.

For reference

AnviLab (before 2009 the company's name was Antiviral, then it was renamed to ANVI Laboratory) is the holder of ANVI Laboratory trademark. The company specialises in developing flu and cold combination medication. In July 2011, the Protek Group (Moscow) acquired AnviLab (St. Petersburg) for $60 million. As a result, the Protek Group, one of the Russia's largest pharmaceutical holdings, acquired the rights to 42 trademarks and brands, 13 inventions and 11 exclusive rights agreements.

Natur Produkt International, a pharmaceutical company, was created in 1993. Key lines of its business are to import pharmaceuticals from Western Europe and to sell these imports in the Russian wholesale market. By 1995, Natur Produkt International opened its representative offices in 20 of the largest cities in Russia. Natur Produkt International develops its own production facilities and a pharmacy chain. In 2005, the holding was divided into two groups: Natur Produkt International, engaged in production and distribution, and Natur Produkt Retail responsible for retail development.