Sovereign court in one jurisdiction cannot injunct proceedings in other sovereign court having jurisdiction to exclusively deal with infringement of IPR: High Court of Delhi

It is totally impermissible for a Court in one sovereign jurisdiction to injunct the party before it from pursuing its cause against infringement of its intellectual property before another sovereign jurisdiction, where such latter jurisdiction is the only forum competent to adjudicate the claim of infringement, save and except where continuation of the infringement proceedings are vexatious or oppressive to the proceedings pending before the former, injuncting, court. This was held in INTERDIGITAL TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION & ORS. v. XIAOMI CORPORATION & ORS. [I.A. 8772/2020 in CS(COMM) 295/2020] in the High Court of Delhi by single bench consisting of JUSTICE C. HARI SHANKAR.

Facts are that the Petitioner alleges infringement, by the defendants, of certain Standard Essential Patents (SEPs), held by the plaintiff and registered in their name and have sought for an injunction in the event the defendants are not willing to obtain licenses, from the plaintiffs. The plaintiff have also sought an injunction, against Defendants restraining them from enforcing, against the plaintiff, an anti-suit injunction order  passed by the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court pending final disposal of the present proceedings.

The counsel appearing for the Petitioner, submits that the suit of the plaintiffs was for injuncting infringement of the plaintiffs’ Indian suit patents, and was preferred under Section 104 of the Patents Act, 1970 . The impugned order of the Wuhan Court effectively restrained the plaintiffs from prosecuting their action for protection of the patents granted by the Indian government and it is also an assault on the sovereign function of the State and in defiance of the public policy of the domestic court.

The Counsel, appearing for the respondent submitted that the order of the Wuhan Court, did not extinguish the plaintiffs’ right either to prosecute its suit for infringement of its Indian patent. The considerations of FRAND rate determination are overlapping which would result in chaos and would give rise to various vexed issues. 

The court made reference to the case of IPCom v Lenovo Technology, where in the following observations were made,“The application before me is directed at the substantive question of which Court should [determine] the issues of infringement and validity of EP 268. The first matter I must consider is whether England is clearly the more appropriate forum in which to decide those issues. Very clearly, it is. The grant of patent is an act which can be performed only by a state. Therefore the validity of a patent is an issue reserved for the course of the granting state, at least in Europe… It would surprise me to learn that the rules of jurisdiction applicable in the US court would allow that court to decide whether EP 268 is validly registered in the UK.”

The court also made reference to the judgement of Anita Kushwaha v. Pushp Sudan, and observed that Considering which the court made the following observation, “The right of the citizen, in this country, to legal redressal to ventilate his legitimate rights, is hallowed, sacred, and fundamental. It is a sanctified and preambular constitutional goal, and derives sustenance from the most sublime of our fundamental rights, including those consecrated by Articles 14 and 21. It is an inviolable and inalienable facet of access to justice”

Considering the facts of the case and keeping in mind the provisions of law applicable. The Court held that ad interim injunction should be granted by which is made absolute, pending disposal of CS (COMM) 295/2020. The defendant shall remain restrained, during the pendency of the present suit, from enforcing, against the plaintiffs, the order dated 23rd September, 2020, passed by the Wuhan Court. Thus disposing of the petition.

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