Pfizer Loses Viagra Trademark Battle In China
This article was originally published in PharmAsia News
Beijing Municipal Higher People's Court has rejected Pfizer's claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition against Guangzhou Welman Pharmaceutical and three other companies. The final verdict ended Pfizer's 10-year legal battle to secure the rights for Viagra's Chinese name "Weige" in China, trademarked by Welman in 1998. Welman says it has lost substantial marketshare in its erectile dysfunction drug over the past decade to counterfeit Viagra, which is the real rival. The firm does not dismiss the possibility of collaborating with Pfizer, including having joint use of the Weige trademark, to crack down on fake Viagra to reach a win-win situation. (Click here for more - Chinese Language)
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China's Supreme Court has given its final decision that upholds the original verdict of the 'Weige' trademark infringement case, rejecting Pfizer's appeal and putting an end to the company's 11-year trademark battle against Guangzhou Welman Pharmaceutical (PharmAsia News, April 14, 2008). According to Welman officials, China has an erectile dysfunction drug market worth tens of billions of renminbi but the combined revenue of the three-largest imported ED brands did not exceed RMB 100 million last year. The firm believes the non-standardized market has missed the best window of opportunity and will not be making a breakthrough in the short term. Welman evaluated the 'Weige' trademark to be worth some RMB 700 million ($102.5 million) and it does not discount collaborations with MNCs. (Click here for more - Chinese Language)
Pfizer and Guangzhou Welman Pharmaceutical have been embroiled in a legal battle over Viagra's Chinese trademark Weige for 10 years (PharmAsia News, Apr. 14, 2008). In 2003, Pfizer hired Shanghai AIAL Information Consulting to investigate Guangzhou Welman Pharmaceutical and Shanghai Oriental Pharmaceutical, and submitted the report to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. However, Welman considered some content in the report to infringe on its business confidentiality and sued Pfizer for unfair competition. After the trial, Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court delivered the judgment that the content of Pfizer's investigation did not constitute unfair competition, nor violate Welman's business confidentiality. (Click here for more - Chinese Language)
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