Continuous application and
interpretation of the law, may seldom lead to diverse
interpretation adopted by parties. Wherein, complicated facts
and contracts find a place, careful analysis of law and the
phrases used therein gains a more prominent place than ever.
Clarifying the concept of arising "cause of action"
and jurisdiction, is the latest Supreme Court judgment rendered
in Laxman Prasad v. Prodigy Electronics Ltd. & Anr.
[2008 (37) PTC 209 (SC)].
Ltd.", formed and incorporated under the laws of Hong Kong
deals in electronic goods under the name and style
"Prodigy Electronics, Hong Kong". Printed Circuit
Boards being the key area of business, involves understanding
clients' needs while offering goods and services at
viable costs. Prodigy claims to have acquired repute and
recognition In India, with particular reference to Printed
Laxman Prasad, joined Prodigy
Electronics as a marketing representative for the
companies' products in India. An employment contract
was entered into, whereby Prasad was appointed on a full-time
basis as an "International Business Development
Manager". He was stationed at Hong Kong, with the
responsibility of carrying out the business operations of the
company in India. According personal reasons, he reallocated
himself to India signing a fresh agreement with the company.
However, on relocation, Prasad tendered his resignation via an
email, stating that he would take further course of action at a
later time. Prodigy persuaded him to stick on, promising that
they would support him through his problems however Prasad did
not withdraw his resignation. At a later date, he sent an
e-mail in the text of which he promised that although he would
continue to deal with the Printed Circuit sector, he would not
indulge with the customers or suppliers of the company.
Prodigy alleged Laxman Prasad of
having visited potential customers, on the pretext of
representing 'Prodigy'. They also learnt that
Multi Circuit Board (China) Ltd., Hong Kong suppliers of
products to Prodigy, had participated in the Trade Fair, and
that the company was represented by Prasad. Further, Prodigy
realized that he operated under the name and style of
"Prodigy Circuit Boards". On contacting Multi
Circuit, they learnt that Prasad and the company had a
subsisting contract. Further, Prodigy learnt of a deceptively
similar website www.prodigycircuits.com to be subsisting in
the name of Prasad, even as his employment continued with
Prodigy in this light alleged a
breach of employment contract while becoming convinced that
Prasad's resignation was not due to personal problems,
but to enable misuse of confidential information. They also
learnt of "Canton Treasure Corporation Ltd." which
had been incorporated while Prasad was in Hong Kong. In this
pursuance a suit was instituted for damages and ordering an
injunction to restrain the use of a similar or deceptively
similar trademark or trade name.
The issue of jurisdiction was
the main point of contention by the parties. While the High
Court of Delhi had rendered that they possessed jurisdiction in
the matter, Laxman Prasad averred that the High Court of Delhi
had drawn an erroneous conclusion. The Supreme Court in the
matter examined the clauses of the contract, and giving due
regard to the arguments proposed by the parties, opined that
"cause of action" and "applicability of
law" were distinct, different and independent expressions
and that the two could not be confused.
They noted that the term
"cause of action" had not been defined in the Code,
yet the existence of one was presumed in every suit. The
judicial interpretations appended to the phrase were also taken
note of. Deliberating on the issue of jurisdiction, the Supreme
Court took note of the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code,
1908 alongside the clauses incorporated in the contract and
opined that since the "cause of action" arose in
Delhi, the law of the land could operate and hence affirmed the
view of the Delhi High Court, dismissing the appeal.
This decision is an instance
when the Apex Court of India has taken cognizance and
reiterated issues that form the very basis of litigation. With
scores of suits lining themselves up for consideration, the
Apex Court's interest and inclination to elucidate the
very ABCs of edicts is admirable.
This article enunciates the recent, much awaited, and landmark judgment delivered on September 16, 2016 by Hon'ble Delhi High Court throwing light on the important provisions of the Copyright Act, 1962.
The Patents Act 1970, along with the Patents Rules 1972, came into force on 20th April 1972, replacing the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911. The Patents Act was largely based on the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee Report headed by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar. One of the recommendations was the allowance of only process patents with regard to inventions relating to drugs, medicines, food and chemicals.
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