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Durex condoms maker loses bid to stop importer

The Milimani Law Courts: The firm wanted to seize its condoms from Metro. PHOTO | FILE
The Milimani Law Courts: The firm wanted to seize its condoms from Metro. PHOTO | FILE  

Anglo-Dutch multinational Durex has lost a first round battle against a Kenyan pharmaceutical company over the importation of its products.

Justice Charles Kariuki has lifted an earlier order stopping Metro Pharmaceuticals from importing Durex condoms, arguing that the Anglo-Dutch firm failed to give any evidence that the Kenyan firm has infringed on its trademark rights.

Durex has sued Metro claiming that it has exclusive importation rights to Kenya. But the Kenyan pharmaceutical argued that it has never claimed proprietary rights to Durex condoms and that it simply imports the products then resells them to the public.

Justice Kariuki ruled that Durex’s claim to exclusive importation rights on the strength of being the trademark owner could only be determined after a full trial. Durex has sued through its London-registered sister company, LRC Products.

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LRC Products operates in the country through Reckitt Benckiser, another sister company. “Metro only claims to be an importer of the Durex products from third parties who may have had a distribution agreement with the plaintiff’s parent company.

Further, it has not been asserted how Metro has infringed on LRC’s right for exclusive use of the trademark Durex,” Justice Kariuki held.

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