According to Black Law Dictionary, an injunction may be defined as "a judicial process operating in personam, and requiring the person to whom it is directed to do or refrain from doing a particular thing”
Patents are one of the oldest forms of intellectual property rights. Infringement of intellectual property right is a tort as well as a breach of contract. However, this study seeks to provide an analysis the remedy provided by way of injunction for infringement of intellectual property right by tort and not by contract. The legal protection of patents is an important concern for developing economies. It provides critical incentives and assurance for innovators and ensures the continued growth of technological inputs. The economies that do not have the support of a strong system of legal protection for patents tend to suffer from slow technological progress and limited economic growth.
However, the judicial system in India is afflicted with backlog and does not provide optimal judicial infrastructure for the protection of patents. The inherent problems of judicial system in India can thus become a crippling hindrance to economic progress. The most effective solution for the present problem of protection of patents is to use the relief of interim injunctions for the protection of patent rights during the course of long and tedious patent infringement litigation. The relief of interim injunction allows the courts to prevent the infringement of the affected patent even before the final determination of the legal rights of the patent holder. The benefit derived from this intervention is that the patent holder can continue to enjoy the fruits of his patent.
In a significant departure from the standard practice in Indian patent trials, Justice Ravinder Bhat in the matter of Bayer v Cipla 2010 Delhi H.C. ordered that the suit be expedited directly to trial. In Roche v Cipla 2009, also it was amply seen that it is impossible to make an informed decision at such an early stage when Interim Injunction is being sought. In such complicated matters, it is imperative that informed decisions be taken at trial stage after hearing both parties.
In Seema Arshad Zaheer Case 2006, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has indicated the salient features of prima facie case as under: “The discretion of the court is exercised to grant a temporary injunction only when the following requirements are made out by the plaintiff:
(i) existence of a prima facie case as pleaded, necessitating protection of the plaintiff's rights by issue of a temporary injunction;
(ii) when the need for protection of the plaintiff's rights is compared with or weighed against the need for protection of the defendant's rights or likely infringement of the defendant's rights, the balance of convenience tilting in favor of the plaintiff; and
(iii) Clear possibility of irreparable injury being caused to the plaintiff if the temporary injunction is not granted. In addition, temporary injunction being an equitable relief, the discretion to grant such relief will be exercised only when the plaintiff's conduct is free from blame and he approaches the court with clean hands.”
In SYMED Labs vs. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals 2013, Symed Labs Ltd. sued Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Laboratories before the Delhi High Court for allegedly infringing two of its patents; IN213062 & 213063. First patent was granted for “Novel intermediates for Linezolid and related compounds” while the ‘063 patent was granted for “A novel process for the preparation of linezolid and related compounds. While declaring the judgment on 9th Jan 2015, the judge convinced that the Plaintiff has got good prima facie case in favor of SYMED.
However, in the past few years, the Delhi High Court has directed many patent matters to proceed towards a "fast-track trial", instead of considering preliminary injunction requests. This approach has been adopted by the courts as they find it difficult to decide complex issues (such as patent validity) at a preliminary stage, without consideration of detailed evidence obtained through cross-examination. This approach is further supported by the fact that India does not recognize the concept of presumption of validity of granted patents. Where a preliminary injunction is granted, the claimant must continue the main proceedings to confirm the injunction.
The courts have developed a fast-track approach under which they set out a timeline for the submission of evidence and to proceed with the matter towards final arguments within about 18 months of the institution of a claim. This ensures that the interests of the parties are balanced, as the lawsuit is decided expeditiously and the defendant is not prevented from carrying on activities during the pendency of the suit.
Ex-parte relief will be granted where it appears that the object of granting the injunction would be defeated by giving notice to the defendants. There have been several cases in which intellectual property cases have been disposed of within a few months, including:
- Bajaj Auto Limited v TVS Motor Company Limited ,2009 PTC 398 where the Supreme Court directed the lower court to dispose of the suit within two and a half months from the date of the order.
- F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, & Anr v Cipla Limited (2009), where the court direction was to conclude the trial as expeditiously as possible.
- B Braun v Rishi Baid, 2010 where the court direction was to dispose of the suit within four months, and the court set up a schedule to that effect.
A speedy trial in IPR matters – is it a feasible approach?
The decision in Shree Vardhaman mandates that once the hearing of the matter commences, the suit should commence on a day-to-day basis, and that the final judgment should be delivered within 90 days of the filing of the suit.
It can be concluded that everyone is persona, legal entity, firm or company all are suffering from the pain of our present legal system and the biggest hindrance is the “delayed justice”.
Before going to conclude I would draw your kind attention towards the present procedure of the cases proceeding in our legal system. Every case consists of bundle of facts and circumstances when it starts. Any case starts from trial court and end with the apex court of land and during which it travels 2-3 decades which is a stigma on our legal system.
And where we talk about the Bajaj auto vs. TVS case, the Supreme Court has strictly stated that the matter of intellectual properties should be decided as quickly as possible. Supreme court held in his judgement very specifically that the patentee has right to get the patent but to get the patent is not the validity of the patent because sometimes, it achieved by hook or crook process it means without diving into the merits of inventions patentee got the patent of an inventions.
The Supreme Court directed that hearing in the intellectual property matter, there should be a strict compliance of Proviso (a) to Order XVII Rule 1(2). Once hearing of the suit commences, it shall be continued on day-to-day basis, unless exceptional reasons necessitate adjournment of the hearing beyond the following day.
The court has also discussed that the matter involves an infringement of a patent is not being decided neither at the time of temporary injunction nor at the time of conclusion of the matter and the sole reason behind the problem is inexperienced courts which resulted a pendency in throughout the courts which causes a delayed justice and from which not only a patentee is suffering but everyone who is connected directly or indirectly has also been suffered.
With the above-mentioned discussions, it can be concluded that something needs to be changed for providing a relief to an aggrieved specially in the intellectual matters. Any how we have to remove the lacunae in interpretation of laws by high court in granting an injunction of patent for the fair and speedy justice.