The case of R. Vardharajan (Petitioner) v Brijmohan Agarwal (Respondent), brought before the Copyright Board, involved an application made by R. Vardharajan under Section 50 of the Copyright Act, 1950 for expunction of Brijmohan Agarwal's registration number A-82655/2008.

R. Vardharajan is involved in the business of manufacturing and marketing safety matches with the distinctive label "POOJA". It was alleged by them that Brijmohan's use of a deceptively similar mark "RAJAA" label for the safety matches was shrouded with a mala fide intention to cash upon their hard earned goodwill and reputation. A raid carried out in Brijmohan's premises by the police at Sivakasi, upon a complaint made by R. Vardharajan had resulted in the seizure of substantial stocks of offending "RAJAA" labels safety matches. Subsequently, an undertaking, attested by the Notary Public at Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, was made by Brij Mohan Agarwal which stated his regret for the unlawful activities.

The case was supported by R. Vardharajan in the following manner:

  1. Brijmohan's registatrion was prohibited as per Section 15(2) of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 which provides,:
  2. "Copyright in any design, which is capable of being registered under the designs Act, 1911 , (2 of 1911 ) but which has not been so registered, shall cease as soon as any article to which the design has been applied has been reproduced more than fifty times by an industrial process by the owner of the copyright or, with his license, by any other person".
  3. In the particular case, the artistic work was created in order to be to used for industrial/commercial purposes, therefore it could not be anybody's case that it had not been reproduced for more than 50 times by an industrial process by the owner of the copyright.
  1. The author of the impugned work was Ms Renu Sharma, and in the absence of a deed of assignment , the applicant Brijmohan could not be the rightful claimant of the work.
  2. The impugned work was capable of being used for goods and as such required a no objection certificate (NOP) from the Registrar of Trade Marks. There was no such certificate presented by Brijmohan.
  3. Brijmohan's undertaking clearly acknowledged the acts of infringement of trademark, copyright and acts of cheating committed by him by selling safety matches.

It was contended on the part of Brijmohan that Section 15(2) did not apply as the matter in the present case was related only to match boxes. Further, there was no evidence as to who produced those match boxes and bills and invoices were not produced. They further stated that issues relating to author of the work was not relevant as to how he/she was the affected person. Moreover, the impugned registration was granted by the Registrar of Copyright pursuant to the NOP from the Registrar of Trademarks.

The Copyright Board found that the impugned registration fell under the prohibition of Section 15 (2) as it was undisputable that match boxes being low cost item would be reproduced for more than 50 times over a short time. Also, the use for industrial/commercial purpose was undisputed. The Board did not find any deed of assignment in writing assigning the ownership of the impugned registration to Brijmohan.

Based upon the above mentioned reasons they expunged the impugned registration.

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