The IPKat is grateful to Ed Meikle for pointing out this article from the BBC. 93 teenage pupils at a school in Carlisle received an incorrect vaccine as a result of an incorrect order being placed with the manufacturers. Following a flood which destroyed the original stock of vaccines, any emergency order was placed by telephone. However, instead of obtaining REVAXIS, which contains Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio vaccines, the health authority ended up with REPEVAX, which contains the same combination and a whooping cough vaccine that is aimed at under-fives. Luckily, the additional vaccine was not harmful. Both vaccines are produced by Aventis Pasteur MSD.
The IPKat says that this goes to show how, in cases where the goods are ordered by telephone, the aural element of the marks in question can be crucial. In this case of course, there is no issue of trade mark infringement since both vaccines are made by the same company. The IPKat though is sure that, had the marks been in the hands of different proprietors, this would be a clear case of confusion.
More on the UK’s vaccination programme here.