In Michael Casey Enterprises Ltd. & Ors v TVC Sky
Shop, the controversy entailed the interplay of the Copyright
Act, 1957 and the Designs Act, 2000. In this case Michael Casey
Enterprises Ltd & Ors (Plaintiffs) filed a suit for permanent
injunction seeking to restrain TVC Sky Shop (Defendant) from
selling health and fitness equipment under the trademarks
"PERFECT ABS" and "AB PRO PLUS" which were
three dimensional reproduction of engineering drawings of the
Plaintiff's "AB KING PRO".
The Plaintiffs filed the suit claiming that they are engaged in
the business of marketing inter alia of health equipment,
and one of the many health equipments is an apparatus marketed
under the trade mark "AB KING PRO", which is designed to
generate negative contractions of abdominal muscles by acting as a
reverse crunch for a complete workout and a fuller range of motion.
The Plaintiffs stated that the said equipment had been advertised
extensively throughout the Indian subcontinent and as a result had
become popular amongst the public and had acquired formidable
goodwill and reputation. It was further contended that the said
equipment had been granted registration by the United States Design
& Patent Office, that the said patent contained several
engineering drawings which illustrated the functional features and
constituted original artistic works within the meaning of Section
2(c) of the Copyright Act, 1957 and was thus entitled to copyright
protection in India.
While the Plaintiffs argued to show that what they sought to
protect was a copyright, the Defendant, on the other hand,
contended that that there was no copyright but a design and qua
which the Plaintiffs were not entitled to any protection under the
Designs Act, 2000. The Defendant pointed out that the registration
relied upon by the Plaintiffs granted by the United States Design
and Patent Office was for an ornamental design which is covered by
Section 2 (d) of the Designs Act, 2000 by virtue of which the same
is capable of registration in India also as a design and since it
had not been done so, therefore it was not entitled for protection.
They also referred to the affidavit as evidence filed by the
Plaintiffs and pointed out that the even the basic measurements
/dimensions on the basis of which drawings or equipment can be made
by anybody else was missing. It was an added contention that the
assignment documents of the Plaintiffs also mentioned only design
and not copyright which therefore meant that the rights claimed by
the Plaintiffs could only be as a design and not copyright.
The Plaintiff's in their rejoinder contended that the
Defendant had not refuted their claim that their product was
original/new and had also not alleged that the Plaintiffs had
themselves copied. Further, they pointed out that there is no
protection to functional designs in India as in the United States
and that the question of functionality and aesthetics of a design
is one of fact and not law. Also, it was stated that even of the
equipment was not patentable, it was still entitled to be protected
under copyright laws, and that there was nothing aesthetic about
On the basis of the aforementioned contentions the High Court of
Delhi held no case for interim relief was made out without evidence
being led. The applications of the Plaintiff for interim relief was
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