§ Mrs. Dunwoody
asked the Minister for Trade whether it is his policy to support the planned European Community directive to ban the use of different trade marks for the same pharmaceutical product; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Vaughan
The proposed EC Council directive 7583/80 (COM(80) 267 final) banning the use of different trade marks for the same proprietary medicinal product in different member states was withdrawn by the Commission in December 1981.
However, work is proceeding on draft directive 11788/80 (COM(80) 635 final) to approximate the laws of member states relating to trade marks. This contains a provision requiring invalidation of a trade mark, whether applied to pharmaceuticals or other goods, when the goods have been marketed in another member state under another trade mark, unless there are legitimate reasons for doing so. In the Government's view, this would create considerable legal uncertainty without corresponding benefits for the consumer. Moreover, the EEC treaty already contains adequate powers to prevent illegal partitioning of the market by trade mark owners, which the Commission have successfully employed in the past.