The Delhi High Court recently recognised, for the first time, the merit of applying Section 20 of the Evidence Act 1872 in technical IP matters. This decision may have far-reaching consequences in the IP world, as it could eliminate the controversy surrounding infringement suits which involve complex technical questions and help the courts to reach a finding by relying on the opinion of an expert agreed on by both parties.
The Copyright Act specifically addresses authors' special rights, which comprise the right to claim authorship of a work and the right to prevent any distortion, modification or mutilation of a work which would be prejudicial to the author's reputation. While jurisprudence on moral rights is still relatively limited, a few foundational cases are emblematic of India's approach and the associated legal issues.
In Banyan Tree Holding v A Murali Krishna Reddy the Delhi High Court clarified the importance and scope of the special jurisdiction provision (ie, Section 62 of the Copyright Act 1957). However, there seems to be a school of thought that Section 62 vests Indian courts with untrammelled long-arm jurisdiction even in strictly extraterritorial situations.
The Supreme Court recently issued its much-anticipated decision in IPRS v Sanjay Dalia. The case considered the interpretation of the special jurisdiction provisions in Section 62 of the Copyright Act and Section 134 of the Trademarks Act. The court held that if a cause of action arises at the place where the plaintiff's principal office is located, it cannot rely on Section 62 or Section 134 to institute a suit where its branch office is located.
A streamlined framework for rectification of a company name is now available under the Companies Act 2013. Under the new act, the registered proprietor of a trademark can apply for rectification of a company name that is identical to or too closely resembles the registered trademark. In addition, the owner of an unregistered trademark which is used as a company name may use Section 16(1)(a) of the act as an alternative remedy to a passing-off suit.