In Sun Textile Engineers & Ors (Petitioner/ Accused) v State of Gujarat & Anr (Respondent / Complainant), the Petitioners being the original accused, sought for quashing of the complaint pending before the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Surat on the ground that the complaint did not disclose any offences mentioned in the complaint.

In the impugned complaint, the offences mentioned against the Petitioners were those punishable under Section 101 to 104 of the Trade Marks Act, under Section 63 of the Copyright Act and under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Respondent / Complainant, contended, inter alia, that they, a manufacturer of bulk transporters with air slide discharge system, were selling such products throughout India under the trade name "ACC- "ShimMaywa". Further, that the customers and purchasers of such machines associated the product; with the trade mark "ACC ShinMaywa Bulk Transporter" of which the Complainant company held the ownership and proprietorship.

It was alleged, that the Petitioners/Accused in order to deceive and defraud the customers of the Complainant company had copied the impugned trade mark and trade description deceptively. They had also copied the essential features printed in the catalogue of the company's product. Based on the above grounds the Petitioners/Accused were accused to have committed offences, which were punishable.

On the other hand, the Petitioners/Accused argued that the complaint was lodged in the year 2002 for the alleged offence punishable under the Trade Mark Act, 1999 (hereinafter, the Act), which was actually brought into effect from 15th September 2003. It was further submitted that there was no infringement of the Copyright Act since copyright could be claimed only for limited things. Further, the product of the Petitioners/Accused was called "Sun Bulk Transporter" and as such the trade mark "ACC ShinMaywa" was in no way copied. Another argument put forward was that the purchasers and customers were educated persons engaged in construction or related business. Therefore, no case for cheating was made out.

The learned Judge on observation of the arguments presented for the Plaintiff and the State observed:

  • That it was clear that the impugned complaint was filed in the year 2002, here offences alleged were under the Act of 1999, which had been brought into force with effect from 15th September 2003. Therefore retrospective operation of criminal provision could not be there. Thus, there was no case for proceeding further under Section 101 and 104 of the Act of 1999.
  • With regard to allegations of offences under section 63 of the Copyright Act, it was observed that, it was clear from Section 13 of the said Act that copyright could be claimed only for the works of (a) original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; (b) cinematograph films and (c) sound recording. The present case did not fall in any of the categories.
  • With regard to Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, it was observed there were no clear averments made in the complaint as to how the customers were cheated. Further in comparison of the brochure of the complainant with that of the petitioners, it was observed that, there was no similarity between the two with which the educated customers could be misled. Thus there was no case for cheating.

The Court therefore quashed the impugned complaint and the rule was made absolute accordingly.

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