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09 September 2019
The Indian district courts rarely grant significant damages in IP cases. However, this has now changed with Trimble Solutions Corporation v Vivek Gupta, as the 6th Additional District and Sessions judge of Ahmedabad passed a significant judgment restraining the defendants from using the plaintiffs' software and ordering the defendants to pay $81,1795 in damages.
Trimble Solutions Corporation (formerly Tekla Corporation) is a Finnish company and has a subsidiary in India. Trimble provides software products and other services, which make the business processes of its customers more effective and helps them to develop and enhance their competitiveness. The plaintiffs' business operated in the buildings, construction, infrastructure and energy fields. Its computer program was first published in Finland and has since been registered in the United States.
The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had been using an unauthorised and unlicensed form of its software program for their engineering projects and other commercial purposes, amounting to infringement of the plaintiffs' copyright under Section 51 of the Copyright Act 1957.
As the defendants failed to file, reply or object to the maintainability of the suit in the allotted timeframe, the court considered whether:
The court held that – in the absence of any reply or objection raised by the defendants and pursuant to the documents filed by the plaintiffs – there was no doubt that the plaintiffs were the registered copyright owners of the software products that had been used in building and construction, energy distribution and infrastructure management and other related software. Further, the local commissioners' report established that the essential feature of the defendants' software was taken from the plaintiffs' software, thus amounting to infringement. The court further held that the defendants had been using a considerable amount of the plaintiffs' software program for their engineering projects and other commercial uses in Ahmedabad without any authorisation, which thus amounted to infringement of the plaintiffs' copyright.
The court concluded that:
Thus, the defendants were directed to jointly pay the plaintiffs a total of $81,1795 within three months of the judgment.
This judgment is the first of its kind and will pave the way for other Indian district courts to award damages in infringement suits in accordance with the irreparable loss and damage suffered by plaintiffs at the initial stage of a suit.
For further information on this topic please contact Ameet Datta or Narayani Prakash at Saikrishna & Associates by telephone (+91 120 463 3900) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Saikrishna & Associates website can be accessed at www.saikrishnaassociates.com.
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