The battle of the 'Algos'


Judit Lantos

In Hungary, pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi’s painkillers are called Algoflex (an over-the-counter drug containing ibuprofen) and Algopyrin (containing the active ingredient metamizole, which became a prescription drug in 2007).

These drugs are among the leaders in the market for painkillers in Hungary, and different types of Algoflex are used for different kinds of pain. Another company, Teva, has registered a trademark for the word ‘Algoprofen’ and obtained a marketing authorisation for this name as a painkiller.

The cancellation action was based on the legal grounds of confusing similarity and likelihood of association, and also on the legal ground that both Algoflex and Algopyrin have good reputations, so the use of the mark ‘Algoprofen’ without due cause would take unfair advantage of, or be detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute of these earlier trademarks.

An important part of the procedure was that the petitioner commissioned a consumer survey to establish the repute of its trademarks as the second parts of the earlier and the attacked trademarks did not appear to be similar, and also because the term ‘profen’ hinted at the active ingredient ibuprofen, which is also the active ingredient of Algoflex. The outcome of the survey was very clear and positive: Algoflex and Algopyrin are both among the market leaders for painkillers in Hungary.

Sanofi, trademark, HIPO,