In Schreder S.A & Anr (Plaintiffs) v Electrical Lines (Defendant) an Interim Application (I.A.) under Order No. XXXIX Rules 1 & 2 read with Section 151, Code of Civil Procedure(CPC), was filed by Schreder S.A & Anr. The suit was filed for permanent injunction, restraining infringement and passing off of design registration.
Schreder S.A & Anr are engaged in the sale of luminaries and were also granted registration for their design known in the market by the name of RT3 and ONYX respectively. On noticing that Electrical Lines was selling luminaries identical to theirs, they served a Cease and Desist Notice upon but them, however Electrical Lines neither replied nor stopped infringing Schreder S.A & Anr's design.
It was contended by Schreder S.A & Anr that Electrical Lines had adopted the impugned designs to deceive the public and encash on their goodwill and that as a result they had suffered great loss and damage, and unless the immediate relief prayed for was granted, they would continue to suffer. It was averred that Electrical Lines was selling its goods at a very low price, which would destabilize Schreder S.A & Anrs selling network. Further, it was contended that Electrical Lines had no legal right to encroach upon the goodwill and reputation Schreder S.A & Anr.
Electrical Lines counter argued that it was neither a manufacturer nor an importer, but only an authorized dealer/stockist of the product. They stated that they had not contravened any conditions enumerated in Section 22 of the Design Act and that there was no infringement of the design of Schreder S.A & Anr. Moreover, it was argued that the price of the products was not decided by Electrical Lines as it was just a dealer, therefore, it would be wrong to say that the low price offered by them would destabilize the selling network of Schreder S.A & Anr.
The Court in this regard made the following observations:
● Where two designs (RT3 and ONYX) were registered, the design RT3 had already expired after its life of 15 years. Therefore, it had already become public domain after the expiry, and relief could not be granted to Schreder S.A & Anr pertaining to the said design.
- In regard as to whether Electrical Lines was guilty of infringement of the said design or not, it was observed that the design registration filed as well as the catalogue of Schreder S.A & Anr, that were submitted in order to prove their case, did not make it clear as to what were the differences and distinctiveness of the shape and configuration of the Design in question.
- It was further observed that the bare perusal of the said product, as shown by Electrical Lines, with the product of Schreder S.A & Anr with regard to the shape and configuration thereof, did not appear to be clear and, therefore it was not possible for the court to pass an interim order unless the two products were placed side by side and their clear photographs were shown.
- Furthermore, the court observed that with regard to the issues in this matter Schreder S.A & Anr had been granted time to file the list of witnesses and the affidavits of evidence within two weeks from the date that the matter had been filed. However, they had failed to file the evidence even after several opportunities were provided to them. Hence, the net result was that the they had failed to produce any witness in this case.
Thus, in consideration of the aforesaid reasons, the Learned Judge refused to pass an interim order in favour of Schreder S.A & Anr. It was held that the findings arrived at by the Court on merit about the rival products would have no bearing, when the main suit was decided on merit after the trial. This application therefore was disposed off.
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