At, Intellectual Property Appellate Board
By, HONOURABLE MS. S. USHA VICE-CHAIRMAN & HONOURABLE SYED OBAIDUR RAHAMAN TECHNICAL MEMBER
For the Applicant: Shri Sudarshan Kr. Bansal & Saurabh Kapoor, Advocates. For the Respondent: Shailen Bhatia, Advocate.
(Circuit Bench Sitting at Delhi)
Hon?ble Ms.S.Usha, Vice- Chairman:
1. Miscellaneous petition has been filed by the respondent in the main rectification application seeking the direction of this Appellate Board to dismiss the main rectification application with costs.
2. The grounds of the miscellaneous petition are that the respondent herein came to know of the registration of the petitioner from the copy of the plaint filed in S.No.10 of 2004 in Delhi High Court. The respondent has filed this instant rectification application as they have been facing several litigations against the petitioner. The provisions of section 124 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) has been quoted. The petitioner has quoted the observations of the Delhi High Court in the case of Astrazeneca UK Limited and Anr. Vs. Orchid chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. reported in 2007 (34) PTC 469 and has stated that prior permission from the Civil Court is to be obtained to file a rectification application. The procedure has not been followed and hence the main application be dismissed. The criminal proceedings are pending. The respondent has not approached this Court with clear hands. In the interest of justice, equity and good conscience the main rectification application be dismissed at the threshold.
3. The respondent herein filed their counter to the main application. The miscellaneous application has been filed only to drag on the proceedings being heard and hence not maintainable. In the instant matter, in a writ petition before the Delhi High Court against the orders of this Appellate Board in a miscellaneous petition, the Delhi High Court has directed that the main rectification application be disposed of within nine months from the date of the order. Having not raised the issue of non-maintainability before the High Court, now to raise the issue by filing a miscellaneous petition is not maintainable as the Hon?ble High Court with the consent of the petitioner directed that the main rectification application be heard and decided. The judgment of this Board relied on by the petitioner is also not applicable as they are totally different.
4. We have heard both the counsel during the Circuit Bench sitting at Delhi on 04.02.2010 where learned counsel Shri Sudharshan Kumar Bansal with Saurabh Kapoor appeared for the applicant and learned counsel Shri Shailen Bhatia appeared for the respondent.
5. Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that as per the provisions of Section 113 of the Act when the criminal proceedings were pending no permission was sought from that Court before the rectification application was filed. He also relied on the provisions of section 124 of the Act in this context where permission of the Civil Court was to be taken before filing of the rectification application as per the observation made by the Delhi High Court in Astrazeneca?s case. The counsel relied on judgments in support of the contention that this Board has already passed an order based on the observations made by the Delhi High Court in Astrazeneca?s case and stated that it be followed in this case. Finally he submitted that the order of the High Court was that the petitioner consented only for withdrawal and nothing else and have no objection for the Writ Petition being withdrawn.
6. In the interest of justice, the petition be allowed and the rectification application be dismissed with costs for non compliance of the procedures as contemplated in the Act.
7. The counsel for the respondent submitted that the provisions of section 113 of the Act was not applicable here in this case. Even if applicable, charges are yet to be framed and after charges are framed, the Court has to be satisfied in this case. The issue of maintainability under section 124 of the Act was neither raised in the counter statement nor was it pleaded in the writ petition before the Hon?ble High Court. The counsel also relied on some judgments in support in support of his claim and also submitted that the judgments relied on by the counsel for the petitioner were not relevant to the case on hand.
8. We have perused the miscellaneous petition along with annexure and also have gone through the reply filed to the miscellaneous petition and have considered the arguments of both the counsel. We find that though the learned counsel was vehemently submitting about the provisions of section 113 of the Act, but nothing has been pleaded in the miscellaneous petition except for a statement in para 10- ?That even otherwise criminal proceedings are pending before the Criminal Copurt and matter is pending.? Criminal matters are pending for which we do not find any material placed before us. The plaint when seen mentions about the criminal matters but no mention as to what is the stage of the criminal matter as it pertains to the year 2002.
9. It is worthwhile to quote the observation of the Division Bench of Delhi Court in an application under section 124 of the Act:
?The provisions which would be applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present case are those which envisage that where the application for rectification of the order in such proceedings is not pending, then a party seeking rectification applies for rectification, subject to a prima facie satisfaction of the Court regarding invalidity of the registration of the mark of the opposite party. The appellants/plaintiffs therefore could not have filed an application for rectification without showing establishing and obtaining prima-facie satisfaction of the court that they have sufficient material to be able to invalidate the registration of the mark of the respondent/ defendant. The aforesaid rectification proceedings which is filed is still pending for consideration. Therefore, the learned single judge was justified in not staying the suit.
Once a suit for infringement of Trade Mark is instituted the objector gets a right to move an application for rectification after the Civil Court, trying the suit based on infringement of the Trade Mark, has examined prima facie tenability of the plea with respect to invalidity of the registered mark and makes an order raising an issue in the suit. If no plea as to invalidity of registered Trade Mark is raised in the infringement suit no question of filing rectification application arises. The parties to the suit must adhere to the procedure prescribed in Section 124 with respect to the filing of rectification proceedings. The question of determination of issue as to invalidity of the registered mark and abandonment of it due to non-prosecution are interwoven in the scheme of the Act. Therefore, if there is abandonment of the plea as to the validity of the mark albeit for the purposes of the suit the objector is not entitled to move rectification application as he would have disentitled himself to plead for judgment in the light of the decision, if any, obtained dehors the procedure prescribed therefor under section 124. In case a plea is deemed to have been abandoned, the only remedy of the party concerned may be to approach that very court, to extricate himself from the consequence of abandonment, or higher forum.
10. It is very clear on a reading of the observation that when a person has abandoned the plea as to the invalidity of the registration of the mark cannot raise a plea afresh dehors the suit by filing a rectification application and resume such a plea. In the instant case, the suit has been filed by the petitioner herein where the registration is said to have been stated and hence the respondent has filed the rectification application. There is no mention as to what is the stage of the suit, whether written statement filed and issue of invalidity of the registration of the mark raised etc. In such circumstances, we are of the view that no permission from the Civil Court needs to be obtained to file a rectification a
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pplication. 11. Moreover, the petitioner has not raised any such plea of maintainability in the counter-statement to the main application for rectification. To raise such a plea at this belated stage is only to delay the proceedings is our considered opinion. 12. The counsel for the for the petitioner vehemently relied on the view of this Appellate Board that permission is required from the Civil Court where the suit is pending for filing an application for rectification. There is no doubt regarding that view, but depending on the fact that position is to be considered. Each case has to be decided on its own merits. 13. In view of the above finding, we are of the opinion that there is no merit in the miscellaneous petition and is liable to be dismissed. Miscellaneous Petition No.05/09 is therefore dismissed with no order as to costs.