Triable cause of action is undoubtedly an important
consideration while filing a suit. Being a subject incorporated in
Civil Procedure Code, 1908 the issue presented itself before the
Delhi High Court in the case of PVR Pictures Ltd v. Studio
18. (2009)(41)PTC70(Del.) The present suit was brought under
the supervision of plaintiff, PVR Pictures Ltd before the court in
respect of alleged infringement of Term Sheet Agreement(TSA) by the
defendant, Studio 18 on account that the agreement does not
evidence a binding contract, amounting to a distributorship license
to plaintiff. It was agreed under TSA that PVR Pictures Ltd would
be the exclusive licensee for distribution rights in respect of the
cinematograph films, i.e. KIDNAP, GOLMAL RETURNS, DIL KABBADDI,
GHAJANI and SHORTKUT, for the East Punjab territory, as known in
film trade parlance. TSA guaranteed PVR Pictures Ltd distributor
license on payment of 90 lakhs as advance amount, 21 days before
the date of release. Four of them were released; however, Studio 18
was reluctant to bequeath the plaintiff, PVR Pictures Ltd with
licensee right towards the movie SHORTKUT. PVR Pictures Ltd erred
that the TSA clearly records that the right granted was a license,
for a period of one year, and that it were "exclusive".
Therefore TSA was not merely a Memorandum of Understanding, on the
contrary, it contained all the necessary terms that an exclusive
license should contain. In this view, PVR Pictures Ltd sued Studio
18 for specific performance of its obligation under a Distribution
Term Sheet Agreement, in respect of a movie SHORTKUT and also
permanent injunction ceasing the defendant from canalizing the
movie shortcut through any other distributor.
Studio 18, through its counsel, urged that the contention put
forth by PVR Pictures Ltd to prove the existence of license do not
reveal that there was any grant of license to the latter. It was
argued that TSA was a mere desire to enter into contractual
relationship, and does not evidence a binding contract, amounting
to a distributorship license. They claimed to have express terms in
the TSA which bear out the submission that prints are made
available only after the advance amount is paid 21 days beforehand
the movie was to be released. No amount has been paid by PVR
Pictures Ltd, in respect of SHORTKUT. This handicapped PVR Pictures
Ltd, since they were disentitled from seeking the reliefs claimed
in this case. Besides, there being no valid license, under Section
30 of the Copyright Act, the PVR Pictures Ltd cannot enjoin Studio
18, which is entitled to all rights in law, being the intellectual
property right owner of the copyright in the film.
On comparison of claims, the Court was of the opinion that
specific performance can be enforced only if there is a binding
contract, in form of license, which is lacking in this case.
Equally PVR Pictures Ltd cannot complain of prejudice since they
haven't met with the requisite drawn under TSA of paying the
advance to Studio 18. In this case there was absolute absence of
triable cause of action in favour of PVR Pictures Ltd. In this
circumstance the PVR Pictures Ltd could not claim for ad interim
injunction. Thus court confirmed that the suit could not be
entertained and dismissed the plaint.
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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