• Tue
  • Nov 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:14am

Pfizer denied right to Chinese name of Viagra

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 February, 2007, 12:00am
 

US drug giant Pfizer has suffered a loss in its battle with mainland pharmaceutical companies over the trademark of its anti-impotence drug Viagra, denied the right to use a common translation of the product's name on the mainland.


Pfizer claimed that 'Wei Ge', which sounds similar to Viagra in Chinese and literally translates as 'great man', had been widely used by local media to refer to the drug since it entered the Chinese market in 1998 and was widely understood as the name of the product.


But the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled that mainland pharmaceutical company Guangzhou Welman, which registered the name Wei Ge for its anti-impotence drug, retained the legal right to use the name.


The court ruled that the media's use of Wei Ge to refer to Viagra was not sufficient evidence to prove that Viagra should own the trademark.


Pfizer's legal defeat came after a court victory last month in which two Chinese companies were ordered to stop selling anti-impotence pills that resembled Viagra's blue diamond-shaped ones. It was awarded 300,000 yuan in damages.


In June, Pfizer obtained a court ruling that overturned a 2004 decision by the State Intellectual Property Office saying Viagra was not entitled to patent protection.


Ten local pharmaceutical companies have filed an appeal, but a judgment has not yet been handed down.


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