Sunday, January 15, 2017

Delhi High Court Restores Infringement Suit

NEW DELHI: Haste makes waste. This was said by the Delhi high court while restoring a suit of trademark infringement that had been dismissed by a single judge at the admission stage itself.
 A bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar reminded the courts that quest for speedy justice should not result in "hasty decisions."
HC''s observations came after it found that the single judge tossed out the trademark infringement suit at the entry-level threshold, relying largely on his own "recollections" and conclusions about the merit of the claim instead of first hearing arguments followed by rebuttal by plaintiff and defendant.
 "No doubt, 'docket explosion' is a problem for the judicial system to contend with. But, that does not concern the individual litigant who comes to court seeking justice. Our endeavour must never be to deny justice to anyone in our overzealousness to dispose cases. As Benjamin Franklin said — Great haste makes great waste. Courts, while endeavouring to deliver speedy justice, must not hand out hasty decisions without any concern for justice," the bench noted, sending the suit back to the single judge for hearing.
 The division bench said in many cases a court may feel that the case of a plaintiff is weak, "but that is no ground whatsoever for throwing out the suit lock, stock and barrel without giving the plaintiff an opportunity of proving and establishing its case."
 A hotel chain had filed the suit against another hotel seeking permanent injunction on the ground that the latter were using the trade mark 'Privee' that was identical to or deceptively similar to the trade mark of the plaintiffs — MBD Prive and Prive.
 In its suit, the company alleged trademark infringement, dilution of goodwill, unfair competition and sought an order in its favour. However, the single judge, without issuing any summons to the defendants, dismissed the suit after going into the merits of the claims raised by the plaintiffs. The single judge observed that suits that are doomed to fail and of which there is no chance of success should be dismissed at whatever stage the court finds it to be so.
 The bigger bench disapproved of the order noting: "What the learned single judge has done is to have dismissed the suit of the appellants/plaintiffs at the admission stage itself without issuance of summons and this, we are afraid, is contrary to the provisions of the statute."
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