The story began with a Saudi Arabian company named YANBU Steel Company (YANBU), which found quality issues in a few Carbon Seamless pipes delivered to it. These pipe are used for laying pipes in oil plants. They were sold to YANBU under the mark of the world renowned steel company Nippon Steel Corporation. Nippon Steel is the world's third largest steel producer by volume as of 2017. Unhappy with the quality of the pipes, YANBU lodged a complaint with Nippon which led to the investigation of the origin of the sub-standard pipes. It was found by Nippon that 2 individuals by the names of Kishor Jain and Jeetendra Burad ("Defendants") were infringing upon the trademarks of Nippon Steel. Nippon Steel filed a suit against them in the case of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation vs. Kishor D Jain & Anr. at the Bombay High Court.
The court appointed a court receiver and ordered a thorough inspection of the activities taken up by the defendants. It was revealed that the defendants were not only infringing the trademarks of Nippon but also indulging in forgery. The defendants had ‘affixed’ the trademarks of Nippon on the products and also had forged inspection reports and certification on behalf of Nippon. This led YANBU to believe that the pipes being provided were in fact products by Nippon Steel.
The Court on April 15, 2019 observed that this case was to be treated strictly since not only were the trademarks of Nippon being infringed but the products on which they were affixed were those which are used in highly sensitive areas such as oil rigs/oil plants. The Court went on to say that, any sub-standard quality products laid down in an oil plant could lead to disastrous consequences. In order to deal with the defendants in a strict manner and to send out a strong message to such unscrupulous entities, the Court ordered the defendants to pay damages worth INR 5 Crores (USD 720 thousand, approx.) towards Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital before April 23, 2019, though no amount of damages can be equated to the gross wrong committed.
Compiled by: Adv. Sachi Kapoor | Concept & Edited by: Dr. Mohan Dewan
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.