Czech pink pill gets protection

Photo: archive of Radio Prague

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has registered the colour and shape of the famous Czech painkiller Ibalgin, the daily Hospodářeké noviny reported on Friday. The round tablets in bright pink colour belong among the 10 top-selling drugs in the country.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
The company produces around 250,000 tablets a year and also exports them to Central and Eastern Europe.

The Industrial Property Office has granted a protected trade mark to Sanofi on the basis that most Czechs associate painkillers with the neon pink Ibalgin tablets.

“A consumer poll shows that Ibalgin is unique and easily recognisable mainly due to its colour and shape. This is why we wanted to promote the trademark protection and register not only its colour, but also its shape,” Libor Kytýr, spokesman for Czech and Slovak branch of Sanofi, told the daily Hospodářské noviny.

The colour was registered already a year ago, but the Industrial property Office wasn’t sure about the shape:

“We persuaded them by arguing that we want to register the shape only in connection with the particular pink colour,” lawyer Jakub Čech, who acted as an adviser to the company, told the daily.

The trademark protection is only effective in the Czech Republic but the pink tablet is also exported to Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. In France, it is sold in white colour and under a different name.

Ibalgin is produced by Zentiva, a Czech pharmaceutical company now owned by Sanofi since 2009. Its production was launched 85 years ago.

Sanofi is currently looking to sell Zentiva but it has already announced it will maintain production of the bright-pink painkiller.