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In a landmark Judgment which could change the landscape of Patent litigation in India, the Supreme Court has pronounced the judgment on the Bajaj v. TVS’s appeal on injunction today (16th Sept).  Copy of the Supreme court judgment on Bajaj v. TVS’s appeal can be downloaded (Bajaj V TVS SC )here

The bench consisting of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice AK Ganguly judged that

1. The matter is to be disposed on merits at the Chennai HC, with directions to complete the full trial and pronounce orders latest by 30th November 2009.

2. TVS has been allowed to sell its bikes with Twin Spark Plugs, with a Court Receiver being appointed to maintain books of Profit.

3. Issues directive for lower courts for IP litigation.


For background understanding of our readers, below is a synopsis of the facts of the case

  • In  Dec 2007 Bajaj claimed TVS had infringed the Patent and filed an infringement suit at Chennai HC against TVS.  Single Judge of the Madras HC issued a temporary injunction  on 16th February, 2008 of the Manufacture and sale of TVS Bikes with alleged infringed twin spark plug.
  • TVS appealed against this decision at the Division Bench of the Chennai HC against the injunction and the Division Bench Madras HC on 18 May, 2009 had decided prima facie that there was no infringement by TVS and allowed TVS to manufacture and sell the bikes.
  • Bajaj then appealed at the Supreme Court against the Madras Division bench decision and the Supreme Court issued an interim order (dt 08th June, 2009) allowing TVS to manufacture but restrained it from selling till the final order is passed.
  • Today’s judgment is the final order passed by the  Supreme court on the appeal on injunction.

The prime importance  that comes out from this judgment  is the direction issued by the SC in relation to the infringement cases handled in the country.

Disapponted that the matter in the Madras HC has been pending for more than 2 years, the Apex court sets guidelines for IP litigation.

In Page  3- 4 of the judgment (enclosed), the bench had cited a case of M/s. Shree Vardhman Rice & Gen Mills vs. M/s Amar Singh Chawalwala  (No.21594 of 2009 decided on 07th September, 2009) where the court noted that :

“…Without going into the merits of the controversy, we are of the opinion that the matters relating to trademarks, copyrights and patents should be finally decided very expeditiously by the Trial Court instead of merely granting or refusing to grant injunction. Experience shows that in the matters of trademarks, copyrights and patents, litigation is mainly fought between the parties about the temporary injunction and that goes on for years and years and the result is that the suit is hardly decided finally. This is not proper.

Proviso (a) to Order XVII Rule 1(2)C.P.C. states that when the hearing of the suit has commenced, it shall be continued from day-to-day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless the Court finds that, for exceptional reasons to be recorded by it the adjournment of the hearing beyond the following day is necessary. The Court should also observe clauses (b) to (e) of the said proviso.

In our opinion, in matters relating to trademarks, copyright and patents the proviso to Order XVII Rule 1(2) C.P.C. should be strictly complied with by all the Courts, and the hearing of the suit in such matters should proceed on day to day basis and the final judgment should be given normally within four months from the date of the filing of the suit.” (Emphasis Added)

The SC reiterated this stance in today’s judgment  (Pg 4) and observed that

“As has been observed by us in the aforesaid case, experience has shown that in our country, suits relating to the matters of patents, trademarks and copyrights are pending for years and years and litigation is mainly fought between the parties about the temporary injunction. This is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs, and hence we had passed the above quoted order in the above-mentioned case to serve the ends of justice. We direct that the directions in the aforesaid order be carried out by all courts and tribunals in this country punctually and faithfully(Emphasis Added)

This is a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court and would form basis of litigating other Intellectual Property Rights related cases in India. The Trial court is supposed to give the judgment on merits within 4 months and the matters must proceed on day to day basis.

If followed, this will drastically change the working of Indian courts in Intellectual Property litigation scene and be a positive step towards a strong Intellectual Property enforcement regime in India.

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Further to Justice Katju recusing himself from hearing the Novartis Glivec appeal, the Special Leave Petition (SLP) was listed today (11 September) before the Bench consisting of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Dr. Justice. B.S. Chauhan.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Bhandari issued notices to Centre and all the other parties involved and sought their replies. The respondents include the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Controller General of Patent and Design (CGPDTM), the NGO Cancer Patient Aid Association Centre and Pharma companies Natco Pharma, Cipla, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Hetero Drugs.

This SLP is an appeal against the IPAB decision which upheld the Chennai Patent Office decision to refuse the Novartis’ patent application for its cancer drug Gleevec based on Sections 3(d) and 3(b) of the Indian Patent Law.


For those interested in the appeal, a copy of the Special Leave Petition filed by Novartis at the Supreme Court in the Glivec case is available here from the IP Watch website.

Read more from Times Of India here

The Supreme court Bench headed by Justice Markandaya Katju which was supposed to hear the Novartis appeal on Monday (31/8), recused itself from hearing the case noting that it may not be proper for him to sit in on this case.

Justice Katju is said be a supporter of making a balance between the need to give monetary inducements to new inventions, and making available these inventions to the broad masses in the underdeveloped countries at affordable prices. Read Shamnad in his blog spicyIP here.

We note that this was a very decent move made by the H’ble judge. Rather than giving a biased judgment being influenced by personal opinion, it was better that he recused himself from the case which involve such important issues and also being intensely followed by many around the world.

The Supreme Court has posted September 15th as the date for final disposal of the Bajaj Auto v. TVS Motors patent infringement case on the twin-spark plugs technology. The bench on Monday (31/8) continued the earlier interim order of June 8 allowing TVS Motor to manufacture TVS Flame, the alleged infringed product, having the claimed twin-spark plugs technology for which Bajaj Auto claims it holds the patent rights.

Bajaj’s petition at the Supreme Court against the Madras High court order allowing TVS to use the twin spark technology resulted in the June 2009 interim order, where the SC asked TVS to make an undertaking stating that it would only manufacture the product but refrain from moving its “finished product (motorcycle) from its warehouse” and ordered both parties to restrained from using the said order for any other purposes including publicity.

The Supreme Court, on Friday, dismissed the special leave petition (SPL) by Roche, challenging the division bench order of the Delhi High Court. The division bench had earlier in April 2009, upheld the order refusing the injunction which issued by a single judge of the Delhi High court, and even awarded costs for suppression of facts in a poorly reasoned judgment.

Noting that it was already 4 months since the division bench order of April and the final hearing on merit of the infringement case (Roche vs Cipla) has already commenced at the Delhi High court, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition and ordered that the ongoing trial at the Delhi High Court be expedited. The SC further went on to note that nothing in the Delhi division bench order would bind the trial court judge.

Read the mint report on this matter here and the analysis by Shamnad in his blog Spicyip here. Spicyip has been covering this matter for a while now read here.

Novartis has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court (India’s Highest Court) challenging the refusal of its patent application for its blood cancer drug Glivec by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB- India’s IP tribunal).

The IPAB in its decision in July had rejected Novartis’s appeal against refusal of its Patent Application for its drug Glivec by the Indian Patent Office (Chennai) back in January 2006 on grounds that the application was not patentable under Section 3(b) (Public order, since the drug was high priced) and 3(d) (failing to give a significantly enhanced efficacy) of the Indian Patent Act.

Read more on Mint, Hindu, Times of India reports on this. SpicyIP has been covering this matter from day one, read them here