In an attempt to assert one's rights in a patent, the recent
case of Mahesh Gupta & Anr. v. Tej Singh Yadav & anr. [2009
(41) PTC 109 (Del)] witnessed the Delhi High Court grant an order
of permanent injunction as mandated under the provisions of the
Specific Relief Act, 1963. The present suit was brought before the
Court in respect of alleged infringement being caused to the rights
on KENT Mineral RO, a product manufactured by a company under the
aegis of the plaintiff Mahesh Gupta. The patent dealing in reverse
osmosis technology was alleged to be infringed by PUROCOM,
manufactured by a company for which Tej Singh acted as a defendant.
In this view, an injunction was prayed for in order to restrain the
manufacturers of PUROCOM from infringing the registered patent held
by KENT and for delivery of the infringing materials and also
rendition of account and damages.
Mahesh Gupta in their plaint stated
the revolutionary patented process of Reverse Osmosis was
introduced in 1999, whereby the water is purified retaining the
essential minerals and the same was marketed under the mark KENT
Mineral Ro. They claimed to have made large investments for
research and development for the unique water purifier as well as
on advertising through Television and print. The product was also
claimed to be sold outside India but also in countries like Nepal,
Kenya, and New Zealand the sale of the purifier to be worth over 10
It was contended that Mahesh Gupta
in May 2008 came across a newspaper magazine advertisement which
indicated that water purifier named PUROCOM was infringing their
rights in the patent. In this pursuance Mahesh Gupta filed a suit
to which a compromise was arrived at on the condition that PUROCOM
would not infringe the patent rights held in KENT's product. An
application under Order 23 Rule 3 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908
that they will not infringe the design, copyright and trade dress
of KENT. However, later it was observed that Tej Singh and
co-defendants had introduced another product having a different
shape but employing the same technology in pursuance of which the
present suit was filed. Mahesh Gupta alleged that the water
purifier fully and completely infringed the claims of KENT's
patent and that PUROCOM was attempting to make unreasonable profit
vide the infringement.
Further it was contended that the
essential and key aspects of the patent had been slavishly copied
and put to use in the impugned water purifier in bad faith with an
intent to misrepresent to the general public that the products and
business owe their origin to/or are licensed by KENT and calculated
to cause damage to the exclusive proprietary rights and the
goodwill of KENT's water purifier. An order for permanent
injunction and as also rendition of accounts, delivery up of all
infringing material and damages amounting to Rs. 21 Lakhs were
On a comparison of claims, the Court
confirmed that the manufacturers of PUROCOM were guilty of
infringement, passing off, unfair trading and competition. The
brochures were also found to contain similar material leading to
blatant and flagrant infringement of copyright in the same. Taking
note of the investment made in marketing, the repute acquired
therefrom, the Court confirmed that bad faith was inherent and the
intent to misrepresent the products to have a link or common origin
was present. In deciding the issue, the Court took note of Raj
Prakash v. Mangat Ram Chowdhry and Ors. AIR 1978 Del 1 to
construe the overlap of claims and invention.
In respect of this case, the Court
had earlier ordered an ex-parte interim order along with the
appointment of Local Commissioner to take into custody the
infringing goods including literary material. In this pursuance,
the Local Commissioner submitted a report stating that no
infringing material was found on the premises of the alleged
infringer. The defendants not having made an appearance nor having
filed a written statement, the case was unrepresented from
PUROCOM's side. The Court stated that a case for grant of
permanent injunction was existent. However on account of damages,
the absence of any infringing material having been found as also
cogent evidence, the same was declined.
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