Dealing with an application under S. 50 of the Copyright Act,
1957, expunging an entry from the register, the appeal in
F.I.I. through Secretary General v. G Kesavalu Naidu [2009
(37) PTC 603]questioned the Copyright registration obtained in
steel tubes as artistic works of drawings. F.I.I, a registered
society dealing with the interests of its member industries,
challenged the two works copyrighted by Naidu. Naidu had not
obtained patents on the two designs which varied in diameter, but
had duplicated existent designs without any scientific or artistic
discovery or invention. It was averred that Naidu was engaged in
threatening manufacturers and dealers by misusing the copyright
granted by the Registrar. This was substantiated vide F.I.I'
submission of a copy of the petition filed by Naidu at the
Munsif-cum-Magistrate' Court, indicating that he had been
claiming himself to be copyright owner of mild steel tubes of the
specific dimensions and in the pursuance had instituted criminal
proceedings against other manufacturers.
Countering the allegations, Naidu averred that the monopoly
right acquired was a result of continuous effort and research
involving skill and labour. Stating that he had applied both for
the grant of patent and copyright and that the latter was granted
to him, he propounded that the Govt. of Karnataka had appreciated
the need and importance of the specific dimensions copyrighted by
him. Submitting newspaper clippings, bills and associated pieces of
evidence and denied the contention of F.I.I of the designs being
registrable under the Designs Act, 200 as incorrect. F.I.I denying
the submissions of Naidu stated that the Bureau of Industrial
Standards (BIS) had to be complied with by steel manufacturers, and
in absence of compliance, a similar characteristic in order to
perform the same in the market had to be made, in effect every
drawing of a particular kind of steel tube appearing identical.
Further, discussing the representation of the tubes, the Board
opined that the two tubes having dimensional differences would be
represented alike and that Naidu had failed to issue a notice under
the Copyright Rules in spite of having in his knowledge that an
industry manufacturing steel tubes was already in operation and
that he had an interest in the matter. Several judgments were also
cited by either parties. In doing so, the Ciba Judgment was also
cited and Naidu averred that F.I.I. did not meet the requirement of
being the manufacturer or trader, in effect not being an affected
person. F.I.I stated that in view of S. 50 and relevant provisions
of the proviso to S. 45 (1) of the Copyright Act, they were
aggrieved persons as also attracting Rule 16 (3) of the appended
The Board said that testing the eligibility to continue on the
register, the violation of the statutory obligation as under S. 45
(2) could not be ignored, making it mandatory to submit the
requisite certificates from the Registrar of Trade Marks and that a
reciprocal duty was cast upon the Registrar of Copyrights to demand
these. Holding that the registrations had been in violation of
specific and unambiguous provisions, the registrations were ordered
to be expunged from the Register.
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.
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