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Litigation in Intellectual Property (IP) Laws


Authored By- Ankita Roy


Keywords: Intellectual Property; Patent; Litigation; Trademark;

Abstract:

Intellectual Property is an important asset that can be held by a corporation or an individual. Also the strategies regarding Intellectual Property is an important contribution to the bottom line of the company. Today, the infringement of intellectual property rights laws has increased in number and IP owners move to the court to save their ownership. This article discuses about the litigation in the intellectual property laws.


Introduction:

1.Intellectual Property Laws have been enacted with an objective to protect these creations of minds and the rights of the IP owners. Intellectual Property is a concern in national as well as international scenario.


2.The major problems concerning intellectual property is the enforcement of intellectual property rights for the protection of the creation or invention. The increase in counterfeit and duplication of patented or copyright items is a matter of concern for the IP owners. These problems and the awareness of IPR has escalated the cases of intellectual property litigation.

3.Litigation in Intellectual Property deals with matters including infringement of lawsuits, invalidation trials, the appeal process, import suspensions and temporary injunctive relief. In such matters the owners have civil and criminal remedies available such as Interlocutory injunction, Perpetual injunction etc.


Intellectual Property Courts:

1.A specialized court is an independent body that can operate at National or district levels so as to adjudicate the concerning matters. Such courts are expected to improve the quality of justice available to the aggrieved party. The court’s expertise is based on the previous experience of the court concerning IP matters. They also help in the elimination of any risk of forum shopping. Also, it allows timely and cost-effective handling of the proceeding.


2.Though these courts can be considered as an important part in the future of IPR, there are certain disadvantages of the courts holding them back. The major disadvantage is the cost of establishment and operation of the specialized court specially for the countries with low resource. These courts are considered to be less independent and vulnerable to the political influence. Centralization is also a disadvantage as it may also inhibit the exchange of any legal idea resulting to the perpetuation of errors. The defining of the jurisdiction of the specialized court and the general courts pose a also pose a potential link.


Indian Scenario:

1. IPR litigation in India is quite diverse, owing to the availability of the large number of courts along with the varying experience of the judicial officers in intellectual property right matters. In India, there are no specialized intellectual property courts. The petitions concerning IPR matters are filed mostly in civil courts but in some cases in High Courts. Some courts have become preferred forums over others.

2.In 2015, the Indian legislature established commercial courts with an objective of expediting commercial disputes and IP disputes under a new enactment. The courts were established at the district level and commercial sections were established within High courts having original civil jurisdiction.

3.The enactment of 2015 gave separate treatments to the commercial courts. The new act focused on the speedy disposal of suits as the reviewing of documents and oral arguments should be concluded within six months. It set stringent timelines for different stages of suit leaving no room for slow progress. The act gave the parties the right to apply for summary judgement, in case any party felt that the opponent had no prospect of defending a claim and that evidence should be superfluous.


Criticism of the Act:

1.On one side this act has provided relief to the aggrieved parties in IP litigation and on the other the trends as granting of ex parte injunction andits removal process slows down the conclusion of the trial.

2.The party in whose favour the injunction has been granted tends to delay for a longer period than six months. According to the data available upto 2017 there are nearly 3000 cases that are still pending in the court for past 10 years.

3.The apex court in a landmark judgement directed that, in all pending cases where the stay against the civil or criminal trial is operating, it should end on the expiry of six month unless by a speaking order such stay is extended. This is also applicable to the cases where stay will granted in future.[1]

4.Also, court in such matters has recognised the significance of curtailing willful infringement of IP rights and has been granting punitive damages to the original innovators.


Litigation related to patent rights, trademark and copyright:

1.Patent rights: In patent rights infringement lawsuits and invalidation trials, it is important to completely understand the technical content of the patented invention. Also, the different facets of IPR have different jurisdiction. In patents and designs rights case, the right holder has to choose a court in the jurisdiction of which the defendant resides or where the infringing goods are made or sold.


2.Trademark rights: In trademark rights infringement case, the owner of the trademark can sue in the court that lies in his own territorial jurisdiction. This is only applicable when the trademark is registered.


3.Copyright rights: in case of copyright infringement, the owner can sue has the option to sue within his jurisdiction irrespective of where the action of infringement might have occurred. Apart from civil law criminal law also plays a vital role in the copyright counterfeit actions.


Conclusion:

It is concluded that the Indian litigation has a very balanced approach by the court in the intellectual property matters. The government has taken sufficient steps to improve the equality of justice in IP matters. The measures has resulted positively as the time taken to complete the trial has been shortened.


[1] Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency Pvt. Ltd. and Ors. V. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2018) 16 SCC 299;


References-


1. https://www.majumdarip.com/faq/ipr-litigation/#:~:text=Litigation%20in%20Intellectual%20Property%20Rights,different%20Courts%20have%20different%20practices.&text=In%20Patents%20and%20Designs%20the,goods%20are%20made%20or%20sold;

2. https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=5f17ee47-b5c9-4578-9201-8a31eab8c2a7;

3. http://www.tmi.gr.jp/english/introduction/ip.html;

4. https://www.managingip.com/article/b1kbm12wlgsgt6/india-challenges-faced-in-the-protection-and-enforcement-of-patent-rights#:~:text=Patent%20rights%20in%20India%20can,up%20to%20deal%20with%20cases;

5. https://www.ssrana.in/litigation/ip-litigation/;

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