The Principles of Natural Justice find a place in all
jurisdictions and legal regimen. The law seems frivolous
without the edicts of the principle and governs every branch of
law, irrespective whether new or old. Although, the principles
are too well-established to require an introduction to, yet
every once in a while, they become the bone of contention in
legal haggles. In witness to this, is the case of Vetsfarma
Ltd. v. Vest Pharma Ltd & Ors. [2008 (37) PTC
Vetsfarma Pvt. Ltd. aggrieved from the order of the
Registry, with respect to three trademark applications moved to
the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in pursuance
of Section 100 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. They contended on
the grounds of violation of the Principles of Natural Justice,
stating that no opportunity to be heard had been afforded to
them. Furthermore, they stated that the order was not a
Presenting the facts before the Board it was stated that the
two contending companies, viz. Vetsfarma and Vest Pharma, were
controlled by two families. On differences having arisen
between the two, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was
entered into, whereby Vetsfarma agreed to transfer two
registered marks along with eight unregistered marks. It was
decided that a formal deed of assignment be executed as well,
in exchange for consideration. The deeds were assigned on two
dates, and the latter of the two deeds led to the cancellation
of the assignment made vide the first deed.
The counsel for Vest Pharma averred that in pursuance to the
deeds and TM-23, signed for the respective parties, a
Memorandum of Settlement (MOS) was entered into between the
parties, where by particulars of the earlier MOU were altered
and the total number of marks decreased from ten to seven. A
marketing agreement was also executed between the parties,
which ratified the assignment. Vetsfarma contends that in spite
of cancellation, the deed incorporating the same was neither
considered, nor brought to the notice of the Registrar, and
that the assignment deed was proceeded with suppressing the
facts. Also, no hearing was afforded to Vest Pharma.
Vest Pharma contended that the order being passed on the
basis of the joint application, no notice of hearing was
required. They contended that there was no dispute with regard
to the assignment, however, if one existed, it centered on the
deed of 'cancellation of assignment'. It was
asserted that the same was a got-up document and a copy of the
bank statement was produced in support. Vets Pharma basing its
averment on the Principles of Natural Justice, denied the
impugned order to be a mere communication.
A plethora of cases were advocated by either side and
referred to, by the Court in making its decision. The Court ,
taking note of Vest Pharma's contention of the
memorandum being one of compromise, categorically stated, that
in view of TM-23 being jointly executed, and no opportunity of
hearing being afforded to Vetsfarma , and the same being
undenied by Vest Pharma, the principles of Natural Justice had
been violated and the impugned order was set aside.
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