Suspect: IPO

An investigation into the potential involvement of the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in Big Pharma corruption is in progress.

Update — 24/09/2023

The UK IPO proves once again that Big Pharma’s influence and the pure greed trump common sense, fairness and human decency.

The IPO has decided to admit the testimonies of HRI’s director Brigitte Flower and that of their legal representative Mr Peter Cornfield into the proceedings concerning the registration of the “Sunny Mood” trade mark.

The decision comes after a Case Management Conference between an IPO hearing officer and Mrs H. S., company secretary of DR CORBYN LTD, on 1 September 2023. Despite the hearing officer’s repeated assurances that any grounds concerning either matters of regulatory nature or fictious products would not be admitted as valid in the context of the opposition, this is exactly what has happened.

And not only was the evidence inadmissible, but it was also filled nearly one month after the original deadline —  which the IPO permitted regardless, violating their own procedures and gravely prejudicing the applicants at the same time. The IPO claimed that an extension of time had been granted to the opponent, yet this had never been communicated to the applicants.

The trade mark applicants’ position had been made clear from the beginning. On one hand, the opposition relied on matters concerning the regulation of specific products, which fell outside of the IPO’s remit. One the other hand, the arguments advanced by the opposition were purely speculative in nature, discussing products whose existence has not been evidenced to this day. The opposition was, on the whole, inadmissible — but this did not stop the IPO for admitting it nonetheless.

Arguably, and given the nonsensical grounds upon which it relies, the opposition should have been refused from the beginning as wholly without merit. In the absence of any evidence to support HRI’s allegations that the applicants had intended to supply a product that would be directly in competition with their own, such allegations — as well as the opposition grounds they have given rise to — are no more than a figment of imagination, hardly sufficient to be admissible.

And in the absence of any such evidence, the opposition itself becomes null.

But the IPO is not stepping back and is allowing the nonsensical, greed-driven opposition to proceed.

Caught in the sticky web of Big Pharma influence, the UK IPO is aiding and abetting corrupt, criminal behaviour perpetrated by HRI whilst breaching the applicants’ rights to have their trademark registered. Admitting inadmissible evidence into the proceedings gives both the IPO and the opponent — HRI — more time to plot their next steps and come up with a plan that will silence the voices of the righteous — or so they hope.

Time is essential for putting together a plot that works, however briefly. With IPO’s intervention and decision to admit inadmissible evidence into the proceedings, the likes of HRI and other stakeholders corrupted by Big Pharma influence have been gifted the ultimate gift — more time to concoct their ruthless plan to annihilate a hardworking, honest and ethical company and endanger the health of the public.

But don’t think for a moment that the IPO isn’t aware of how nonsensical HRI’s opposition is. Their goal, however, is to buy more time for the putsch to be perfected and executed. 

Update — 17/07/2023

Further evidence has emerged in relation to the potential involvement of the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as an accessory to high-level Big Pharma corruption in the UK.

The evidence suggests that the UK IPO may be working in association with, for the benefit of, Big Pharma companies based in the UK. These companies are exerting their influence upon yet another official government body in their greedy pursuit of more profits.

Factual Background

On 7 October 2022, trade mark application, ref. number UK00003836858, was jointly submitted to the UK IPO by four applicants, three of which were small UK companies.

One of the applicants had by that time built a strong and increasingly widespread reputation in the UK food supplements sector. Perceived by many Big Pharma companies as a threat to their market position, the applicant had been the target of continued persecution by the UK medicines regulator themselves. The MHRA is suspected of having abused their powers and making false reports to law enforcement agencies, accusing innocent individuals associated with food supplements companies they targeted of criminal activities.

The application was for the “Sunny Mood” trade mark.

On 30 January 2023, the trademark application was formally opposed by The Herbal Research Company Limited, also known as HRI.

The opposition grounds concerned principally an obscure similarity between “Sunny Mood” and an existing trade mark, “Good Mood”, owned by HRI. According to them, the presence of the word “Mood” in both trade marks and the indeterminate similarity in meaning shared by the terms “sunny” and “good” amounted to an overwhelming risk of confusing the two trade marks.

However, the grounds further advanced by HRI in relation to their opposition were based entirely upon unsubstantiated assumptions about the applicants’ intentions for the “Sunny Mood” trade mark. Without reason or evidence, HRI alleged that the applicants were intending to supply a product containing the plant St. John’s wort under the “Sunny Mood” trade mark, thus infringing upon the intellectual property rights and ‘reputation’ of one of HRI’s existing products, supplied under the trade mark “Good Mood”, which also contained the plant St. John’s wort.

There was nothing in HRI’s allegations. The applicants had not specified at any time the particulars of any product that they were intending to supply under the “Sunny Mood” trade mark, much less whether such a product would contain a vitamin, mineral or plant component, or a combination thereof.

HRI’s opposition was hopelessly and wholly without merit, of which the company was well aware. The grounds they advanced appeared to be nothing more than the product of the HRI stakeholders’ overactive imagination.

Of particular importance was that, having advanced the unsubstantiated argument about the applicants’ intention concerning a fictitious product — that HRI themselves had apparently fabricated out of thin air — the company’s opposition took an unexpected turn and submitted a series of fabrications about the plant St. John’s wort.

The arguments are briefly summarised below:

  1. In no unclear or uncertain terms, HRI stated that St. John’s wort is, in itself, a medicinal product regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK.
  2. In no unclear or uncertain terms, HRI stated that only products that have been granted a licence under the MHRA’s Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) Scheme may contain the allegedly medicinal product St. John’s wort and may be supplied in the UK. HRI’s “Good Mood” is naturally such a product, which the company was careful to specify.
  3. In no unclear or uncertain terms, HRI stated that products granted a THR licence are of the highest quality, safety and efficacy.
  4. In no unclear or uncertain terms, HRI stated that the applicants were intending to supply, under the “Sunny Mood” trade mark, a product containing the allegedly medicinal product St. John’s wort that would be unlicenced and supplied by the applicants illegally.
  5. In no unclear or uncertain terms, HRI repeatedly stated and insisted, through numerous statements of an alarming nature, that unlicenced products containing the allegedly medicinal product St. John’s wort presented a serious risk to public health.

HRI’s statements were clearly vmeant to imply that the product supplied by the applicants under the “Sunny Mood” trade mark, which they had assumed would contain the plant St. John’s wort, would endanger the safety of the public.

Even if the applicants’ intention were to supply a St. John’s wort product under the “Sunny Mood” trade mark, HRI would have had no means to predict whether the intention was to also apply for a THR licence at any time in future.

HRI’s grounds relied on invented facts and misrepresented information provided by the MHRA themselves as part of a Freedom of Information request. The MHRA’s position on the sale of food supplements with a St. John’s wort component was made abundantly clear in their response to Freedom of Information request ref. CSC 93576 dated 16 March 2023, where they indicated that the sale of food supplements containing St. John’s wort was lawful and permitted in the UK.

Added to which, St. John’s wort is a plant and not a medicinal product by itself, which is supported by the MHRA in their Guidance Note 8 where they state:

“The MHRA only classifies finished products and not individual substances and ingredients.”

Any statement implying that St. John’s wort is a medicinal product would be vitiated by the MHRA’s response to the FOI request. St. John’s wort is a plant with uses in food, medicine, aromatherapy and cosmetics. It is not a vitamin, mineral or nutrient, but nonetheless it qualifies as a substance or ingredient that may be used in the production of foodstuffs and medicinal products. It is by no means a medicinal product in itself, which HRI has always been well aware of, despite their feigned ignorance of the fact.

But the discussion on the regulatory status of any ingredient is completely out of context and irrelevant in the matter of an intellectual property dispute. The UK IPO is not concerned with regulatory matters and should have promptly dismissed any grounds raised by HRI in connection with the regulatory status of St. John’s wort, which HRI assumed the applicants were intending to supply under the “Sunny Mood” trade mark. On what grounds they made such assumptions is very unclear, as no evidence or suggestion to this effect had ever been made.

The applicants responded to the opposition, refuting all grounds advanced by HRI and requesting that their trade mark be registered as is. The UK IPO admitted the applicants’ grounds for resisting the opposition and HRI was requested to respond and/or provide evidence by 30 May 2023.

On 30 May 2023, the applicants received correspondence from HRI’s legal representative requesting that the deadline for responding to the applicants’ grounds for resistance be extended until 30 June 2023. The reasons given for the request should have been, by rights, promptly dimissed by the UK IPO.

The deadline extension was sought by HRI as they were allegedly still awaiting to receive the witness testimony from a HRI company stakeholder and from the HRI’s legal representative themselves, both of whom would have had an unsurmountable conflict of interests in the matter.

That the two witnesses — and we use this term very lightly — would have provided an unbiased account of all relevant facts and considerations of the case was highly improbable. In light of their blatant attempts to direct attention away from the true merits of their opposition, which was based entirely on fabrications, false information and serious misrepresentations of laws and facts, it was highly probable that the two witnesses would be biased. Their testimony would have had no value.

The second reason given by HRI for the deadline extension was that the matter concerning the regulation of St. John’s wort products, and in particular the supply of allegedly unlicenced products, was far greater than they had anticipated.

Both reasons were laughable at best and displayed HRI’s clear intention to mislead the UK IPO and to attempt to secure the refusal of the trade mark application due to the allegedly high risks to public safety that the fictious product “Sunny Mood” would pose. Without any robust grounds for their opposition, HRI resorted to creating a false sense of alarm and giving the UK IPO the false impression that, were the “Sunny Mood” trade mark to be registered, the consequences to public health would be disastruous and the burden of responsibility would fall upon UK IPO themselves.

Such petty conduct and dishonesty in a company that was openly singing its own praises at every opportunity were unfathomable.

On 30 May 2023, the applicants wrote to the UK IPO, requesting that the deadline extension be denied due to the inadmissibility of the grounds raised by HRI’s opposition. Additional emails were sent throughout June and July 2023. 

The applicants had never received a response from the UK IPO.

On 26 June 2023, further evidence was submitted by HRI, purportedly in support of their opposition. This implied that either their request for a deadline extension had been granted without notice to the applicants or that HRI had filed their evidence before their request for a deadline extension had been either considered or granted.

As was expected given those circumstances, HRI’s additional evidence relied equally on the false and inaccurate information pertaining to the regulatory status of St. John’s wort as a medicinal product and on unreliable and biased witness testimony, the value of which was nil.

The evidence, however, illuminated the true reason for HRI’s opposition — their dissatisfaction with the lower sales volume for their “Good Mood” product as a direct result of the innovative, diligent and consistent marketing strategies devised by their competitors, which were supplying St. John’s wort food supplements.

One of the applicants for the “Sunny Mood” trade mark, DR CORBYN LTD trading as Dr Corbyn, had been supplying such a food supplement, under their own brand and trade mark, for only 18 months yet had, by that time, outperformed HRI’s “Good Mood” herbal medicinal product, which HRI had been supplying for over 5-6 years.

Extracts from documents submitted by HRI to the UK IPO.

HRI’s opposition to the registration of the “Sunny Mood” trade mark was not due to genuine concerns about their intellectual property rights. Instead, their opposition was made in bad faith, in retaliation for Dr Corbyn’s stronger sales performance, by virtue of their innovative and well-thought-out marketing strategies, and with the intent of causing prejudices to all applicants.

It was sheer greed and malice that had prompted HRI to oppose the “Sunny Mood” trade mark. It was a way of asserting superiority as a Big Pharma company and as one of the pharmaceutical companies funding the MHRA.

HRI’s evidence also highlighted that the company had maliciously interferred with Dr Corbyn’s trading operations in retaliation for Dr Corbyn’s successful marketing campaigns and strong business ethos. But HRI appears to have neglected or ignored that the normal, fair and appropriate way of dealing with competition is — surprise, surprise — a stronger marketing strategy, stronger promotional efforts or innovation.

It is only the bad actors that set out to annihilate competitors through ‘dirty’ tricks. Markets are elastic and dynamic. Static businesses with static promotional activities are unlikely to survive. HRI’s reliance on their THR licences has been far too great and has caused the company to lose sight of the instrumental importance of change and innovation in a growing and ever-changing market.

This perhaps comes as no great surprise. After all, like all other Big Pharma companies that fund the MHRA through industry fees, they are expecting their pecuniary interests to be actively protected by the UK medicines regulator themselves. HRI, like all other Big Pharma companies, relies on the MHRA to get their hands dirty and remove the competition, in the form of natural, non-medicinal food supplements.

But HRI’s marketing prowess doesn’t necessarily shed any light on the reasons why the UK IPO has hitherto failed to respond to the applicants’ many, many emails. A government body has a duty to respond, which the UK IPO appears to have openly and unjustifiably neglected.

Is the UK IPO aiding and betting corruption and organised crime in the pharmaceutical industry?

On any reasonable analysis of all facts of the opposition of trade mark ref. UK00003836858, there would have been ample reason for the UK IPO to dismiss all grounds raised by HRI in their opposition at the outset. The grounds relating to regulatory matters in particular are not the remit of the UK IPO and they have no place in an intellectual property dispute.

The opposition was nonetheless admitted.

Yet in their capacity as the opponent, HRI had failed to file their evidence and counter-arguments to the applicants’ grounds for resistance by the deadline. And in view of their lacklustre opposition grounds and of the applicants’ numerous attempts to correspond with the UK IPO, their request for an extension of time should have been promptly refused and any evidence filed after the initial time limit should have been accordingly dismissed.

Why is the UK IPO seemingly giving the opponent an advantage and concomitantly refusing to acknowledge and respond to any of the applicants’ emails?

Why has this not been the case?

The answer may be rather sinister and indicative of UK IPO’s voluntary participation in the criminal, corrupt and ultra vires acts, or acts without jursidiction, of Big Pharma companies, such as HRI, in association with none other than the UK medicines regulator themselves.

In view of continued corrupt actions by the UK medicines regulator, and with the involuntary participation of law enforcement agencies, this has all the makings of a putsch.

There can be no doubt that that something is at play and that we are likely to witness the big finale of the putsch very, very soon. The UK IPO themselves seemingly waits for the climax before committing to a decision about the opposition and about the registration of the “Sunny Mood” trade mark.

Big Pharma is once again given the preference, whilst the natural rights of other companies and individuals are being trampled on. And the UK IPO appears to be playing an active part in aiding the high-level corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, acting to the prejudice of others and ignoring the voices of those who, in submitting their application to register a trade mark, are driven by something nobler than greed.

Update — 15/06/2023

Information and evidence collection currently in progress.

Please note: All information on this page is based on, and contains extracts from, documents submitted by The Herbal Research Company Limited (HRI) to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). This information does not represent the opinions of DR CORBYN LTD or of any other companies or individuals mentioned herein. The opinions expressed herein are not those of any specific company or individual.

Case status:
Under investigation