Cannot merit rejection of a plaint, Application dismissed in Delhi High Court
The Court’s role in providing legal interpretation is crucial. The Court’s pronouncements on subjects other than law, such as facts, might not be legally enforceable because the circumstances of two instances might not be comparable. Astrazeneca Ab & Anr. vs Westcoast Pharmaceutical Works … on 15 May, 2023, Delhi High Court.
This application, filed by the defendant Westcoast Pharmaceutical Works Limited in accordance with Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC), seeks to have the plaintiff Astrazeneca AB’s CS (COMM) 101/2022 dismissed. I spent a lot of time listening to Mr. Pravin Anand, learned Counsel for the plaintiff-non-applicant, and Mr. Vikas Khera, learned Counsel for the defendant-applicant. In this application, Mr. Khera bases his arguments on three different points(2022 CS(COMM) 101 Signed digitally by:SUNIL SINGH NEGI Date of Signature: 05/15/2023, 19:59:40 Number of Neutral Citations: 2023:DHC:3337 (I) Absence of financial jurisdiction). First, Mr. Khera argues that the lawsuit lacks pecuniary jurisdiction because the District Court is where it should have been brought. According to Mr. Khera, the lawsuit had the characteristics of a quia timet action because it was brought because of a mere suspicion that the defendant would release the allegedly infringing product onto the market.
Mr. Khera argues that a quia timet lawsuit based on mere apprehension is inadmissible because a claim for damages cannot be maintained. He bases this argument on the decision of a Coordinate Single Bench of this Court in Toni & Guy Products Ltd. v. Shyam Sunder Nagpal1. Given that the plaintiff has sought to justify the triggering of this Court’s jurisdiction in the current plaint. Mr. Khera has also cited the High Court of Bombay’s decision in Sergi Transformer Explosion Prevention Technologies Pvt. Ltd. v. CTR Manufacturing Industries Ltd. 5 (referred to as “Sergi” herein) and the Supreme Court’s order from the 16th of December 2015, which states that Civil Appeals arising from 2015 SCC OnLine Bom 6984 CS(COMM) 101/2022 shall be dismissed. Signed digitally by:SUNIL SINGH NEGI Date of Signature: 05/15/2023, 19:59:40 The neutral citation 2023:DHC:3337 SLP(C) 34749-34751/2015 that resulted from the aforementioned ruling is dismissed. Mr. Khera contends that the plaintiff cannot file a lawsuit for patent infringement since the plaintiff’s right to assert the suit patent has not yet crystallised, as stated in Aloys Wobben2’s para. 19 decision. Additionally, according to Mr. Pravin Anand, the controversy in Aloys Wobben2 concerned the respondent Yogesh Mehra’s right to file a counterclaim in a lawsuit alleging patent infringement brought by the appellant Aloys Wobben against him, despite the earlier revocation petition having been filed under Section 64(1)8 of the Patents Act in Order dated May 2, 2019, in CS(Comm) 299/2019 MANU/DE/0584/2020.
According to Mr. Anand, the Supreme Court in Aloys Wobben2 never even addressed the question of whether a post grant opposition, brought by another party in accordance with Section 25(1) of the Patents Act, may be maintained while an infringement lawsuit was ongoing. Furthermore, he claims that the Supreme Court has never heard of or debated such a matter. In light of this, it is important to understand paragraph 19 of Aloys Wobben2. When broken down into its component parts, it can be seen that the Supreme Court stated in para. (i) A person who has filed a post-grant opposition to a patent pursuant to Section 25(2) of the Patents Act is not permitted to subsequently file a revocation petition under Section 64(1) challenging the same patent or a counterclaim in any infringement lawsuit brought by the patentee (as Section 64 has been made subject to other provisions of the Patents Act); (ii) in accordance with the Controller’s judgement, the “decision of the grant of the patent” is finalised with publication of the grant of the patent.
The Supreme Court ruled that the issue of how an unstamped or understamped underlying agreement might affect an arbitration clause in Vidya Drolia13 was never decided or ruled upon. In light of this, the Supreme Court ruled that its ratio decidendi—rather than its obiter dicta—was what made a decision by the Supreme Court binding. The decision of an obiter dictum in a Supreme Court decision, as returned in Career Institute Educational Society9, was apparently in the context of whether, on this point, the decision in Vidya Drolia. The High Court declined to examine the argument that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable because it was contained in an unstapled/understamped document.
Therefore, it is not possible to immediately treat the decision in Career Institute Educational Society9 as a precedent on the question of whether an obiter dictum in a Supreme Court decision has binding precedential significance on authorities lower in the judicial hierarchy. However, the Career Institute Educational Society9 is an expert on recognising the obiter dictum in a judgement. Applying the inversion test recommended in Career Institute Educational Society9, it is evident that everything of Aloys Wobben’s para. 19 is obiter because the judgement would still be true even if para. 19 were to be eliminated. Regarding the first query, Article 141 of the Constitution expressly states that all courts operating within the boundaries of India must abide by the law that the Supreme Court has pronounced. The aforementioned Article gives the Supreme Court the authority to make laws. Therefore, the Court’s role in providing legal interpretation is crucial.
The Court’s pronouncements on subjects other than law, such as facts, might not be legally enforceable because the circumstances of two instances might not be comparable. But the decision’s ratio, not any factual conclusions, is what has legal force. A court’s decision must be understood in the context of the issues raised for discussion in the case in which it was made. As opposed to a ratio decidendi, a “obiter dictum” is a statement made by the Court on a legal issue that is raised in a case before it but does not need a ruling. It is possible that an obiter will not set a precedent that is binding since the observation was not necessary for the decision that was made, but it is indisputable that it carries a lot of weight. Therefore, all observations and points stated would be covered by the statute that will be binding under Article 141.
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Judgment Reviewed by Kushala Simha