Schering Plough filed a trademark application “Afrin” for decongestants, nose drops, nose moisturizer, nasal sprays and the like. Because there are eye-drops on the market that are called “Ephrine”, manufactured by Fischer Pharmaceuticals, that are spelled in Hebrew in a way that could be read the either way, the Israel Trademark Office refused the mark. On appeal, the agent for the applicant argued that eye drops and nose drops are very different, only one needs a prescription, one features the name in Hebrew and English and the other in English only.
Since the two products are sold in pharmacies and are for similar products in the same class, the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks ruled that there is a likelihood of confusion, particularly as neither product is for chronic use, but rather for treating occasional ailments, and so consumers could easily make a mistake. Due to the fact that the preparations are used for medical purposes, mistakes of this nature could have serious repercussions.
The appeal was dismissed.
The case: TM 216996 to Schering Plough