The case of R. Vardharajan
(Petitioner) v Brijmohan Agarwal (Respondent), brought
before the Copyright Board, involved an application made by R.
Vardharajan under Section 50 of the Copyright Act, 1950 for
expunction of Brijmohan Agarwal's registration number
R. Vardharajan is involved in the
business of manufacturing and marketing safety matches with the
distinctive label "POOJA". It was alleged by them that
Brijmohan's use of a deceptively similar mark "RAJAA"
label for the safety matches was shrouded with a mala fide
intention to cash upon their hard earned goodwill and reputation. A
raid carried out in Brijmohan's premises by the police at
Sivakasi, upon a complaint made by R. Vardharajan had resulted in
the seizure of substantial stocks of offending "RAJAA"
labels safety matches. Subsequently, an undertaking, attested by
the Notary Public at Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, was made by Brij
Mohan Agarwal which stated his regret for the unlawful
The case was supported by R.
Vardharajan in the following manner:
Brijmohan's registatrion was prohibited as per Section
15(2) of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 which provides,:
"Copyright in any design,
which is capable of being registered under the designs Act, 1911 ,
(2 of 1911 ) but which has not been so registered, shall cease as
soon as any article to which the design has been applied has been
reproduced more than fifty times by an industrial process by the
owner of the copyright or, with his license, by any other
In the particular case, the artistic
work was created in order to be to used for industrial/commercial
purposes, therefore it could not be anybody's case that it had
not been reproduced for more than 50 times by an industrial process
by the owner of the copyright.
The author of the impugned work was Ms Renu Sharma, and in the
absence of a deed of assignment , the applicant Brijmohan could not
be the rightful claimant of the work.
The impugned work was capable of being used for goods and as
such required a no objection certificate (NOP) from the Registrar
of Trade Marks. There was no such certificate presented by
Brijmohan's undertaking clearly acknowledged the acts of
infringement of trademark, copyright and acts of cheating committed
by him by selling safety matches.
It was contended on the part of
Brijmohan that Section 15(2) did not apply as the matter in the
present case was related only to match boxes. Further, there was no
evidence as to who produced those match boxes and bills and
invoices were not produced. They further stated that issues
relating to author of the work was not relevant as to how he/she
was the affected person. Moreover, the impugned registration was
granted by the Registrar of Copyright pursuant to the NOP from the
Registrar of Trademarks.
The Copyright Board found that the
impugned registration fell under the prohibition of Section 15 (2)
as it was undisputable that match boxes being low cost item would
be reproduced for more than 50 times over a short time. Also, the
use for industrial/commercial purpose was undisputed. The Board did
not find any deed of assignment in writing assigning the ownership
of the impugned registration to Brijmohan.
Based upon the above mentioned
reasons they expunged the impugned registration.
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