Equine joint supplement company Cortaflex has been paid £71,000 in trademark damages from a Dutch wholesaler.

In a court case in The Hague, The Netherlands earlier this month (17 March), a payment of €85,000 (around £71,000) was agreed to be paid by Grovet and its retail website Doc Horse, as compensation for its importation and marketing in Europe of Corta-Flx, the US version of the equine joint supplement Cortaflex.

The sum is to be paid to Horsham Nutraceuticals Ltd, the sister company of Equine America (UK) Ltd.

The court acknowledged that the US product, which is only licensed for sale in the USA and Canada, is up to 4 times less concentrated than Cortaflex, and that Grovet/Doc Horse had seriously infringed the European registered trade mark held by Horsham Nutraceuticals/Equine America.

Grovet/Doc Horse were told by the court to refrain from any further trading in the US product and to ensure that they did not cause any infringement in the future.

“We are very pleased with the outcome because this case has taken 2 years’ hard work,” said Phil Middleton, director of Equine America UK.

“The US version is up to one quarter of the strength of Cortaflex, so it is clearly important that any retailer or horse owner who is offered this product are aware that, although it has a similar name, it is relatively weak and is not permitted to be sold in Europe.

“We believe that the outcome of this case has not only helped to safeguard consumers but has also fired a warning shot at other companies not to infringe trademarks or other intellectual property.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (27 March 2014)