Delhi High Court Resolves Copyright Clash: A Victory for ‘SATMOLA’  

Case Title: SSG Pharma (P) Ltd. v. Paras Pan Products Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. 

Date of Decision: 1st September, 2023 

Case Number: C.O.(COMM.IPD-CR) 841/2022 

Coram: Justice Prathiba M. Singh 




This case involves a copyright dispute between SSG Pharma (P) Ltd. (Petitioner) and Paras Pan Products Pvt Ltd and another (Respondents) regarding an artistic work titled “NAGRAJ HARFANMOLA.” The Petitioner seeks rectification of the Respondents’ copyright registration claiming to be the prior adopter and user of the artistic work ‘SATMOLA.’ 


Factual Background 


The original petition was initially filed before the Copyright Board and was subsequently transferred to the High Court following the enactment of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021. The Copyright Board’s records were not available, making it unclear what transpired after the initial proceedings.  


Legal Issues 


The primary legal issue is whether the Respondents’ copyright for “NAGRAJ HARFANMOLA” should be rectified due to its resemblance to the Petitioner’s work ‘SATMOLA.’ 


Observation and Analysis 


A comparative table of the artistic works of both the petitioner and the respondents was provided, revealing a striking resemblance between the respondent’s work and the petitioner’s work.  


In a related civil suit (Suit No. 537/2003) between the parties, the Additional District Judge granted an injunction in favor of the petitioner, restraining the respondent from using a label/pouch similar to that of the petitioner. However, the court did not find the marks ‘SATMOLA’ and ‘HARFANMOLA’ to be similar, and no injunction was granted in respect of the mark. 


Following the injunction order, one of the respondent’s trademark registration applications for the label mark was rejected by the Trade Mark Registry, Kolkata, due to similarities in color scheme and design. 




The court ruled in favor of the Petitioner, finding that the Respondents’ label was a substantial imitation of the Petitioner’s label/pouch. Consequently, the Respondents’ copyright registration for “NAGRAJ HARFANMOLA” was ordered to be rectified/expunged from the copyright register. The court directed the Registry to inform the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks for compliance. The petition and all pending applications were disposed of. 


“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.” 


Written by – Ananya Chaudhary 

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Copyright Clash in the Snack World: Delhi High Court’s Verdict on ‘GULCHHARE’ vs. ‘GOORCHARRE MAST SEVIAN'”   

Case Title: Manju Singal Proprietor Singla Food Products v. Deepak Kumar & Ors. 

Date of Decision: September 6, 2023 

Case Number: C.O.(COMM.IPD-CR) 715/2022 

Coram: Justice Prathiba M. Singh 



This case involves a copyright dispute originally filed before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) and later transferred to the High Court of Delhi due to legislative changes. The petitioner, Manju Singal, the proprietor of Singla Food Products, filed a petition under Section 50 of the Copyright Act, 1957, seeking the rectification of a copyright registration obtained by the respondent, Mr. Deepak Kumar @ Deepak Manocha. The petitioner claimed to be the original creator of a similar artistic work used in the packaging of snack food products. 


Brief Facts 

  • The petitioner has been engaged in manufacturing and selling snack food products under the mark ‘GULCHHARE’ since 2009.  
  • The petitioner claimed ownership of the artistic work used in their packaging, registered under Copyright Act No. A-112378/2014.  
  • The respondent obtained copyright registration for ‘GOORCHARREY LABEL’ in 2019.  
  • The petitioner alleged that the respondent’s packaging was almost identical to theirs, including similar colors, style, and content.  
  • A district court had previously issued an injunction against the respondent for using the marks ‘GOORCHARRE’ and ‘ALADIN KA KHANA KHAJANA,’ which was still in force. 


Legal Issues 

  • Whether the impugned copyright registration was valid and whether it was substantially similar to the petitioner’s artwork?  
  • Whether the petitioner could prove ownership and originality of the artwork?  
  • Whether the registration should be rectified or expunged from the Copyright Register? 


Observation and Analysis 

  • Section 50 of the Copyright Act allows for rectification of the Register of Copyrights at the High Court’s discretion, if a person is aggrieved.  
  • Originality is a prerequisite for copyright protection under Section 13(1)(a) of the Act.  
  • The court observed that the petitioner’s artwork had been in use since 2009, whereas the respondent’s copyright registration was granted in 2019. The court noted substantial visual similarities between the two artworks, including the name, color scheme, and other artistic elements.  
  • The court cited relevant legal precedents, emphasizing that the overall effect of competing artworks should be considered, and minor variations should not be overemphasized.  
  • The petitioner’s prior creation and substantial similarity between the two artworks were taken into account. 


Decision of the Court 

The court allowed the petition and directed the Registrar of Copyrights to rectify the register by expunging the respondent’s copyright registration for the work ‘GOORCHARRE MAST SEVIAN.’ The court ordered this expunging to be carried out within eight weeks. 



The High Court of Delhi ruled in favor of the petitioner, finding that the respondent’s copyright registration was wrongly applied for and substantially similar to the petitioner’s artwork, leading to its rectification and removal from the Copyright Register. 


“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.” 


Written by – Ananya Chaudhary 

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Over time, ADR strategies have gained widespread acceptance and practical use in the business and corporate world. These days, arbitration is among the most popular choices, since most parties involved in a business transaction would rather use it to resolve any issue than go to court. Since many individuals now protect their intellectual rights or licence them across borders, intellectual property conflicts are often of a commercial character and may have far-reaching consequences on a global scale. Whether or if arbitration can be used to resolve intellectual property issues is the focus of this article. In that case, in what kinds of arguments might it work? The paper provides the reader with an understanding about the basics of Alternate Dispute Resolution and Intellectual Property Rights. Its analysis the scope of ADR with the perspective of the Indian as well as Foreign ADR methods. As and when the paper terminates, the paper will enhance the knowledge of the reader on two major law areas and how they are interlinked and go hand in hand.


The globalisation of industry and communication technologies means that millions of people may be reached with a single mouse click. Intellectual property (hence “IP”), like any other kind of intangible asset, has both positive and negative aspects. Intellectual property (also known as “copyright,” “patent,” “trademark,” etc.) is just as valuable as tangible assets, yet it defies easy categorization. Since its founding, it has expanded significantly, making it necessary to build a legislative framework to handle complex IP issues on a national and worldwide scale.

When essentially all significant nations joined the New York Convention, it was a key step toward building a unified, powerful international arbitration procedure in line with the goals of the UNCITRAL Model Law, which is why arbitration is so popular today. With the unprecedented Covid-19 epidemic, the necessity for arbitration has grown, since no rational person would want to participate in exorbitant and time-consuming litigation, especially in a cross-border dispute.

To what extent may arbitration be used to resolve disagreements? People who are trying to get a licence for their intellectual property in more than one country are more likely to find themselves embroiled in a conflict with another country. This study seeks to answer the issue, “Is arbitration viable in IP disputes?” If it is, then in what kinds of cases may it happen? Indian law has evolved over the years to meet changing needs, but it expressly forbids some types of conflicts from being submitted to arbitration. Can an award made outside of India for a dispute that cannot be resolved via arbitration in India be recognised and enforced in India? When deciding whether or not a dispute over intellectual property may be taken to arbitration, similar issues exist.


From the 1940 Act to the 2015 Amendment Act, Indian arbitration legislation has progressed significantly, reducing judicial participation and establishing more user-friendly and efficient standards for more impartial and successful arbitration. Although “arbitration” is in its infancy, still developing, and has yet to establish itself in India.

Historically, many legal systems have barred arbitration of intellectual property disputes on the grounds that IP rights are conferred by a sovereign body. It was believed that the validity of a right could only be called into doubt by the entity that originally granted it. Nevertheless, The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has fostered alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in intellectual property matters by establishing the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre, a neutral, international, and non-profit dispute resolution provider that provides private parties with efficient, cost-effective, and expedited options for resolving domestic and cross-border intellectual property and technology disputes outside of court.


Certain legislation in India controls the intellectual properties system, including:

  • “The Copyright Act, 1957”; 
  • “The Patents Act, 1970”;
  • “The Trade Marks Act, 1999”;
  • “The Designs Act, 2000”.

For a certain amount of time, only the holder of certain intellectual property may exercise control over it and earn the monetary benefit, as granted by these acts, known as a “Statutory monopoly.” The owner of intellectual property protected by these statutes also has the legal right to seek redress in a court of law if he or she believes that someone else is infringing on those rights.

For instance, the Copyright Act’s Sections 55–58 of Chapter XII provide the creator various rights to protect his or her work against infringement. In the event of an infringement of patent rights, the proprietor may pursue legal action under Section 104 of Chapter XVIII of the Patent Act, and may pursue legal action under Section 134 of Chapter XIII of the Trademarks Act. Importantly, District Courts have the authority to issue injunctions and other relief designed to preserve the aforementioned rights. These rights given by the aforementioned legislation are considered rights in rem rather than rights in personam by the Indian legal system and courts.

Rights in Rem vs. Rights in Personam policy is at the heart of the debate over whether or not IP issues may be arbitrated.


The Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996 governs the practise of arbitration inside India. The legislation related to domestic arbitration, international commercial arbitration, and the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards has been unified and defined by considerable amendments to the act over time to bring it into conformity with the UNCITRAL model law. The courts may overturn an arbitral ruling if the issue is beyond the scope of what can be arbitrated, as stated in Section 34 (2)(b) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Curiously, the extent of subject matter arbitrability is not defined under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 or any of the statutes regulating intellectual property in India. Our judicial system’s verdicts are the sole authoritative sources for its definition. 


India’s position on the arbitrability of intellectual property issues is convoluted but ultimately reasonable. The policy discussion is prompted by the split over the relative merits of rem vs persona rights and rem versus persona judgments. Controversy exists about the extent to which parties The efficacy of the Indian judicial system is being undermined by a growing pending cases and sluggish disposal rates. Incorporating arbitration in load distribution by broadening the applicability of arbitration would go a long way toward resolving the lingering problem.

It’s important to remember that the idea of “Public Policy” is vital to the notion of arbitrability. At first glance, public policy looks too vague and open-ended, but precedents can shed light on the issue of arbitrability. The basic goal is to ensure that an arbitral tribunal only decides on issues that pertain to rights that arise “in rem,” or to rights that pertain to property.

The area of rights “in rem” has been explicitly excluded from the scope of arbitration in the seminal case Booz Allen and Hamilton Inc. v. SBI Home Finance Ltd. &Ors, (2011) 5 SCC 532, which emphasised the necessity for a competent judicial authority to judge on the same. It did, however, note that rights in rem and personam cannot be completely disentangled, and that arbitration may be necessary in cases where interests in personam based on rights in rem are predominate. The appeal was then rejected by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, which acknowledged three prerequisites for an issue to be inside the purview of arbitration, they were:

There must be an arbitration agreement in place, the parties must have submitted the disagreement to arbitration, and the dispute must be amenable to adjudication and resolution by arbitration.

The case A Ayyasamy v. A. Paramasivam and Ors[1], then came along, with “non arbitrable” topics like patents, trademarks, and copyright being front and centre; yet, O.P. Malhotra’s work was mentioned in this case. Later, landmark decisions built on these precedents to clarify the intertwined but distinct ideas of IPR, therefore reducing the ambit of arbitration.

Section 62(1) of The Copyright Act does not categorically reject the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal in intellectual property disputes that are of a commercial nature and are therefore classified as rights “in personam,” as was held in Eros International Media Limited v. Telemax Links India Pvt. Ltd. and Ors[2], However, in IPRS v. Entertainment Network, Dhanuka J[3], provided an opposing opinion. Using the Booz Allen, Vikas Sales Corporation, and Mundipharma AG, case as precedent, it held that Section 62(1) requires any complaint or proceeding for copyright infringement to be heard and decided only by a competent court.

A similar dissenting opinion was reached in the case Steel Authority of India Ltd. v. SKS Ispat and Power Ltd[4], which held that trademark and passing off claims aren’t arbitrable. The beginning of arbitration in IPR issues has been either rejected or accepted in certain situations, although the grounds for either decision are unclear.

A single cause of action cannot be subdivided if the central issue is partially arbitrable, as the court explained in Sukanya Holdings (P) Ltd. v. Jayesh H. Pandya[5]. Even though the recent landmark case Vidya Drolia V. Durga trading Corpn[6], primarily dealt with the arbitrability of landlord-tenant disputes, it did touch upon the fact that the validity of a patent and the rights accruing from a patent are distinct, making the former non-arbitrable and the latter possibly arbitrable based on the facts as well as particulars of the case.

By comparing the Supreme Court’s and other High Courts’ decisions on the arbitrability of IP issues, we can see that each precedent has sought to preserve the precarious equilibrium between rights in rem and rights in personam. Given arbitration’s growing importance, parties often choose to resolve disputes via it, despite the possibility that a court would ultimately reject the parties’ decision to do so. Nonetheless, the current situation differs from what was previously explained by Booz Allen; arbitration has been ordered for IP issues, and necessary interim reliefs and other assistance have been made available.

Arbitration is one option for resolving conflicts with patents, however it is not often employed. However, the Patent Office doesn’t really acknowledge arbitral rulings in cases of invalidity, therefore this option is unavailable for resolving invalidity disputes. Arbitration may only be used for disagreements that stem from agreements between parties, such as patent licencing disagreements.

The confidentiality of the dispute’s subject matter is the main selling point of arbitration in IP disputes. In a nation like India, however, it might be difficult to strike a middle ground between the parties’ need for privacy and the public’s right to know about conflicts involving rights in rem or third-party interests that have been the subject of arbitration proceedings. Especially in cases of revocation, when the public would benefit from knowing the conclusion, keeping such information secret would be harmful.

Although arbitration has gained widespread support as a fast and effective dispute resolution alternative, more work needs to be done in this area. Because of the far-reaching effects they have on society as a whole, arbitration cannot be used to settle disputes involving the formation of special tribunals or the creation of monopolies in favour of a person or entity. While legal and commercial differences help to clear up some of the confusion, having several, conflicting viewpoints may lead to harm that is difficult, if not impossible, to repair. The National Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2016’s vague reference to engaging in ADR mechanisms for redress does nothing to help. An all-encompassing set of rules or principles that can finally settle the debate is urgently required. Some recurring concerns might be resolved by researching how other nations handle the intersection of intellectual property rights and arbitration.


The patent system centralises the intersection between law and technology. The main challenge that the Indian Courts have is simplifying the adjudication of the issue in a way that is both cost-effective and quick, given the technical expertise involved in patent disputes. Interim injunctions and appeals about them have been at the centre of every conflict involving patent law in India. To settle patent disputes, arbitration has been supported by several nations. Article 103 of the Patent Act of 1970 specifies arbitration as a means of resolving legal issues. The future of fair patent infringement trials may lie on the closer integration of alternative dispute resolution processes.


Courts in the United States have exclusive jurisdiction over IP disputes because of concerns about monopolistic IP rights and the interests of society involved. The subject of whether intellectual property (IP) disputes should be addressed by courts and arbitral tribunals was recently attempted in Henry Schein, Inc., et al. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc.

But in modern times, the United States has chosen a polished, unequivocal method by writing arbitration and when it should be employed into their separate federal legislation. The decline of patent litigation in particular bolstered support for arbitration as a viable substitute. For instance, the United States Patent Act (USPA)  permits parties to submit patent validity, enforcement, interference, or infringement disputes to binding arbitration if both parties agree. The arbitration process allows for some procedural leeway and maintains confidentiality, both of which are essential to protecting intellectual property rights. The court ruled in Scan-Graphics, Inc. v. Photomatrix Corporation[7], that the arbitral tribunal should consider any challenges to the validity or enforceability of a patent. The award will only bind the parties involved and not any other parties. Copyright, Trademark, and Trade Secrets statutes in the United States do not explicitly provide arbitration of IP issues, unlike the Patent law.

However, the courts have taken a pro-arbitration posture where parties in trademark and copyright disputes have opted for arbitration. As was made clear in the Mitsubishi case, antitrust issues are not automatically subject to arbitration under valid pre-arbitration agreements. The need of arbitration in international intellectual property disputes was emphasised by the court in Honeywell, Inc. v Minolta Camera Co. for the purpose of the parties’ convenience and their own sense of fairness.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office must receive a copy of any arbitral ruling, however arbitration of questions of patent validity and infringement and arbitration of “any element” of patent interference disputes are expressly permitted under US law. Until such time as this notification is delivered, the award is not enforceable. Arbitral awards are also registered in Switzerland with the same body responsible for issuing and maintaining patents. A certificate of enforceability issued by the Swiss court at the seat of the arbitral tribunal in accordance with Article 193 para. 2 [Swiss Private International Law Act] is also accepted as the basis for entries in the register if the award was rendered in connection with the validity of intellectual property rights. These cases show that with the right laws in place, India may enhance and encourage arbitration in IP disputes while maintaining a healthy balance between privacy and public interest.


With the help of intellectual-property laws, the creator is able to exert authority over other parties who, without his permission, try to profit from his efforts. In the event that rights can’t be put into practise, the logic for their creation becomes irrelevant. The Indian judicial system has made great strides toward the development of a secure innovation system in India. However, the available resources may be put to better and more lawful use by the Indian judicial system if the other contest aim is communicated. The multidisciplinary nature of the present case necessitates the use of specially trained arbitrators familiar with patents act and regarding copyright issues, such as convergence with science and understanding of innovation.

International intellectual property issues that end up in court sometimes entail a number of different processes in a number of different countries, increasing the possibility of contradictory outcomes. To save the time, effort, and money of litigating in many jurisdictions, the parties to a dispute over a right which is protected in multiple nations might agree to settle the matter via alternative dispute resolution (ADR).


Although civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) have deep historical roots as conflict resolution processes, their connection with the IP area is worthy of further study. Disputes involving intellectual property (IP) are only going to become more complicated as time goes on and technology improves. We will also be pioneers in the field of alternative conflict resolution. Maintaining effective, cost-conscious, and reasonable methods of resolving IP disputes will need more study at the intersection of dispute resolution and IP. The business sector will gain from the arbitrability of intellectual property dispute schemes in India, and the country as a whole will take a step toward becoming an arbitration centre for many multinational corporations if this is allowed by law. The courts may strike a fair balance between the interests of the inventor/owner and public interest by permitting arbitration in the legal dispute out of purely commercial grounds while maintaining the dispute surrounding the validity or registration of IP non-arbitrable. As such, the future of India’s arbitration-friendly framework depends on the decisions of the Hon’ble Apex Court and the other High Courts.

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Written by- Mansi Malpani

[1] A Ayyasamy v. A. Paramasivam and Ors, (2016) 10 SCC 386

[2] Eros International Media Limited v. Telemax Links India Pvt. Ltd. and Ors, 2016 (6) ARBLR 121 (BOM)

[3] IPRS v. Entertainment Network, Dhanuka J, (2016 SCC OnLine Bom 5893)

[4] Steel Authority of India Ltd. v. SKS Ispat and Power Ltd, (2003) 5 SCC 531

[5] Sukanya Holdings (P) Ltd. v. Jayesh H. Pandya, (2003) 5 SCC 531

[6] Vidya Drolia V. Durga trading Corpn, (2021) 5 SCC 531

[7] Scan-Graphics, Inc. v. Photomatrix Corporation,1992 WL 2231


Delhi High Court dismissed the petition seeking over-rule of the judgement of trial court.


Decision on: 12.07.23

+ CM(M)-IPD 10/2023 & CM APPL. 27785/2023



Delhi High Court dismissed the petition seeking over-rule of the judgement of trial court, under article 227 of the constitution of India

Facts of the case

A well-known and reputable dancer named Swapnasundari filed CS (Comm) 671/2021 before the learned District Judge (Commercial Court) (hereinafter referred to as “the learned Commercial Court”) against one of her students named Yashoda Thakore, who had given a dance performance in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the months of January 2012 and 2013. Swapnasundari argued that the aforementioned dance piece was her original work, over which she owned the copyright, and that Ms. Thakore had violated her copyright by performing the dance piece for a profit without her consent or authorization.

The petitioner filed an application with the learned Trial Court pursuant to Order VII Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC), arguing that the lawsuit was defective for lack of territorial jurisdiction and requesting that the respondents return the lawsuit so that it can be filed with a court that has the authority to hear the case.

The aforementioned application was turned down by the learned District Judge (Commercial Court) (“the learned Commercial Court”) in an order dated April 28, 2023. The petitioner has challenged this decision by this current petition, which was filed in accordance with Article 227 of the Indian Constitution.

Analysis of the court

A reading of the impugned order dated 28 April 2023, of the learned Commercial Court, reveals that the learned Commercial Court has essentially proceeded on the basis of the principles enunciated by the Division Bench of this Court in Ultra Home Construction Pvt. Ltd. v. Purushottam Kumar Choubey.

learned the petitioner’s attorney does not contest the decision in Ultra Home Construction relevance to the current case. However, he argues that the decision in Ultra Home Construction4 is per incuriam because it violates the explanation to Section 6 of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, which it omits to mention and which, in his view, must be given a strict interpretation in accordance with a catena of relevant authorities. He also cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Solidaire India Ltd. v. Fairgrowth Financial Services Ltd. After hearing the petitioner, I’m sorry I can’t support his claim.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd. v. Sanjay Dalia, the Division Bench of this Court has unequivocally held in Ultra Home Construction that Section 62 of the Copyright Act provides an additional forum for institution of a suit alleging copyright infringement, over and above the forum which, by operation of Section 20 of the CPC, would have jurisdiction in the matter. (The relevant para referred from Ultra Home Construction  were para 13 to para 22 and para 52.)

Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the non obstante clause, with which Section 62 of the Copyright Act commences, allows a plaintiff to bring a lawsuit where she or he resides or works for pay, in addition to the venue for institution of the suit as contemplated by Section 20 of the CPC. This is supported by both Indian Performing Rights Society6 and Ultra Home Construction4. The sole restriction on this entitlement is that the lawsuit must be filed in the location where the plaintiff’s primary place of employment is located, not in some other remote location where the plaintiff may also maintain a secondary office. This caveat has no application in the present case, on facts.

Therefore, it is impossible to interpret Section 6 of the Commercial Courts Act as a clause that precludes the application of Section 62 of the Copyright Act. When combined with Sections 16 to 20 of the CPC, Section 6 of the Commercial Courts Act operates in a separate domain. That area is unique and different from the area covered by Section 62 of the Copyright Act, as stated by the Supreme Court in Indian Performing Rights Society and the Division Bench of this Court in Ultra Home Construction. Both cases make it clear that a plaintiff desiring to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement may do so within the Court’s territorial jurisdiction or under Section 62 of the Copyright Act or under Section 16 to 20 of the CPC. 

The plea, of petitioner, that Ultra Home Construction is per incuriam is, therefore, completely bereft of merit.

Now that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Solidaire has been brought up, it is clear that the disagreement in that case is fundamentally different from the conflict that emerges in the current case in both contour and complexion. In that instance, the Court was concerned with a scenario in which there were two statutes, each of which was determined to be a special legislation, granting jurisdiction over the same cause of action to two distinct Courts. The Special Court (Trial of Offences Relating to Transactions and Securities) Act, 1992, and the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985, were found to be in conflict with one another on the issue of territorial jurisdiction, which is a significant finding in the aforementioned decision.

There is undoubtedly no contradiction between Section 62 of the Copyright Act and Sections 16 to 20 of the CPC in light of the Division Bench’s decision in Ultra Home Construction. They complement one another, and neither service displaces the other. Therefore, the petitioner cannot benefit from the ruling in Solidaire.

Petitioner has openly stated that the matter would have been decided by Ultra Home Construction’s ruling had it not been for his claim that it violates Section 6 of the Commercial Courts Act. In light of the aforementioned, the learned Commercial Court’s decision to rule as it did cannot be said to have been factually, legally, or jurisdictionally incorrect.

Because of this, the challenged order does not warrant interference within the narrow scope of this Court’s authority granted by Article 227 of the Indian Constitution. As a result, the petition is denied in part.

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Written by – Shreyanshu Gupta

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Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on IPR Laws in India


The covid-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to the world of work. It has generated health concerns as well as social and economic crises which induced an acceleration of digitalization practices. It also exposed the existing inequalities of age, income, race, sex and geographical location which led to the inordinate impact of the pandemic on the vulnerable sections of the society.

The Covid-19 pandemic is very different from other forms of crisis as it had an impact on all forms of business, organisations, creative workers and users. The people were unable to feed themselves and their families due to no means of earning income during lockdown. The pandemic has shattered jobs and placed millions of livelihoods at risk.

Intellectual property is a category of property which includes intangible creations of the human intellect. It refers to the creations of the mind, such as invention, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols and many more. Article 2(viii) of the World Intellectual Property Organization defines intellectual property as, “Intellectual property shall include rights relating to literary, artistic, and scientific works, discoveries throughout all areas of human endeavour, scientific advances, industrial design rights, trademarks, service marks, and commercial names and designations, protection against unfair competition.” The World Trade Organization defines intellectual property rights as the rights given to the creators of the creations. These rights give a monopoly to the creator over their ideas for a specific time period and enable them to prevent others from using their creations. 

Now, the question arises, what intellectual property has got to do with Covid-19? Well, this article answers this question. In intellectual property, particularly patents are an inherent aspect when we talk about global healthcare or dealing with pandemics. In the context of Covid-19, vaccines, software applications, medical equipment, diagnostics and other innovations have critical intellectual property implications. 

TRIPS Agreement

The agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization. It establishes minimum standards for the regulation of different forms of intellectual property.

The TRIPS Agreement requires member countries to make patents available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology without discrimination, subject to the normal tests of novelty, inventiveness and industrial application.

Article 7 of the TRIPS Agreement describes the objectives of the IP system in terms of a balance of rights and obligations.

Article 8 states that members may adopt measures necessary to protect public health and nutrition and to promote public interest in sectors of vital importance to their socio-economic and technological development that are consistent with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.

The Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, a landmark declaration adopted at the WTO Ministerial Conference in 2001, reaffirmed the objectives and principles of the Agreement as guidance for the implementation of TRIPS provisions in a manner that is responsive to public health objectives.

The Doha Declaration also clarified certain policy options, or “flexibilities”, within the framework of the TRIPS Agreement. It is thus a well-established principle that the TRIPS Agreement can be interpreted and implemented in line with public health policy objectives and that it provides wide latitude for members to take action to protect public health.

Policy options and flexibilities regarding other IPRs

As mentioned earlier, the role of policy options in other areas of IP rights has also been raised in discussions about intellectual property and Covid-19.


Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression. 

Copyright provides exceptions and limitations that allow access to those works under certain special cases. Both copyright and exceptions and limitations to copyright have equal importance when considering the question of access to medical technology and innovation. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the copyrights-holders have taken action to make copyright protected content freely available to public access. 

Article 13 of the TRIPS Agreement permits limitations and exceptions to copyright if they are confined to exclusive rights to certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many questions about the permissible use of materials and content as campuses have migrated courses that were traditionally taught in-person to a virtual format. Faculty are understandably concerned about how to best use their course materials in this new digital format, including works from third parties that may be protected by copyright.

There are several exceptions to the Copyright Act that may allow faculty to use some copyrighted materials created by third parties in their educational content. This includes the Fair Use exception and the TEACH Act (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002), also known as the Distance Learning exception.


Trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design or expression that identifies products or services from a particular source and distinguishes them from others.

The trademark rules under the TRIPS Agreement also aim to provide for a balance between the rights of trademark-owners and the public interest. Article 17 of the TRIPS Agreement provides for exceptions that members may provide limited exceptions  to the rights conferred by a trademark, such as fair use of descriptive terms, provided that such exceptions take account of the legitimate interests of the owner of the trademark and of third parties.

Industrial Designs

An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that protects the visual design of objects that are purely utilitarian. Article 26.2 of the TRIPS Agreement provides for members may provide limited exceptions to the protection of industrial designs, provided that such exceptions do not unreasonably conflict with the normal exploitation of protected industrial designs and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the owner of the protected design, taking account of the legitimate interests of third parties.


A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using or selling an invention for a limited period of time. The patent law forms an important part of a country’s national innovation system as it encourages technological progress and innovation.

Article 28 of the TRIPS Agreement grants exclusive rights to a patent holder to prevent others from producing, using or selling the patented product without their consent.

The TRIPS Agreement contains certain adaptability provisions which provide for exceptions where the World Trade Organization members can permit the use of patents without the authorization of the patent holder.

Article 30 of the TRIPS Agreement provides exceptions to rights conferred. It states that members may provide limited exceptions to the exclusive rights conferred by a patent, provided that such exceptions do not unreasonably conflict with the normal exploitation of the patent and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the patent owner, taking account of the legitimate interests of third parties. 

Another key exception to patent rights, confirmed in TRIPS dispute settlement practice is the Bolar exception. It allows potential competitors to use a patented invention during the patent term without the consent of the patent owner for the purpose of obtaining marketing approval for a prospective generic product. In the context of COVID-19, this may be important in cases where the term of patent protection of possible treatments is approaching expiry.

Waiving patent rights for Covid-19 vaccine

The proposal for waiving IP and patent rights for Covid-19 vaccines was first introduced in October 2020, by South Africa and India at the World Trade Organization. This proposal was opposed by the UK and European Union, among other countries.

In June 2022, the World Trade Organization announced a compromise text that gained consensus among its members including the UK and European Union.

For five years, developing countries will be allowed to authorise the use of patented materials and ingredients for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines without the consent of the rights holder to produce vaccines, for domestic and eligible markets. Rights holders will be compensated.

Compulsory licences

Compulsory licence is an authorization granted by the Government to someone else i.e., a third party to produce a patented product without the consent of the patent owner who has been taking undue advantage of exclusive rights granted by patent.

According to Indian Patent Act, compulsory licence can be granted after the expiration of a period of three years from the date on which the patent has been granted.

Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement allows compulsory licensing and government use of a patent without the authorization of its owner under a number of conditions aimed at protecting the legitimate interests of the patent-holder. The patent holders are entitled for remuneration. All members may grant such licences for health technologies, such as medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, as well as any other product or technology needed to combat COVID-19.

Compulsory licensing may serve as a useful policy tool to increase access to eventual treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, in particular in situations in which from a member’s perspective access to affordable health technologies in sufficient quantities cannot be otherwise secured.

Regarding the basis for a compulsory or government use licence, the TRIPS Agreement does not specifically list the reasons that might be used to justify compulsory licensing and thus leaves members the freedom to define the grounds for issuing a compulsory licence. Many laws include national emergency as one of the grounds for issuing a compulsory licence. A number of members have declared a national emergency in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

India’s first case of granting compulsory licence was to an Indian company called Natco Pharma for the generic production of Bayer Corporation’s Nexavar.

This medicine called Aspirin drug was used for treating Liver and Kidney Cancer, and one month’s worth of dosage costs around Rs 2.8 Lakh. Natco Pharma offered to sell it for around Rs 9000 making this potentially life saving drug easily accessible to all parts of the society and not just the rich people. The Government took this decision for the general public benefit. However, it was heavily criticised by the Pharmaceutical Companies as they felt the licence should not have been given.

However, Natco Pharma is paying the royalties to Bayer at a rate of 6% of all sales on a quarterly basis in accordance with the guidelines set by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


The impact of covid-19 pandemic on India has been largely disruptive in terms of economic activity as well as a loss of human lives. Almost all the sectors have been adversely affected as domestic demand and exports sharply plummeted with some notable exceptions where high growth was observed.

Thus, when it comes to the impact of Covid-19 on the essential medicine laws under the Patents Act, the Indian Patent laws are self-sufficient and protect the interests of the general public.

When it comes to India’s role on a global platform, the argument for a global IP waiver in times of pandemics is an important argument that has been raised by India. Even though Indian laws may be self-sufficient, it may not be the case for all countries and thus it is necessary that companies and nations place the interests of the general public before their individual interests of obtaining patents and royalties arising from the use of such patents.

Works Cited

Introduction to TRIPs Agreement, https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/news/kokusai/developing/training/textbook/document/index/TRIPs_Agreement.pdf. Accessed 2 July 2023.

“15 October 2020 Page: 1/13 Original: English 1 THE TRIPS AGREEMENT AND COVID-19 INFORMATION NOTE1 Key points • A full response.” World Trade Organization, 15 October 2020, https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/covid19_e/trips_report_e.pdf. Accessed 2 July 2023.

Sehgal, Diganth Raj. “Intellectual property and COVID-19 : lessons for the future.” iPleaders, 18 November 2021, https://blog.ipleaders.in/intellectual-property-and-covid-19-lessons-for-the-future/. Accessed 2 July 2023.

“WTO | intellectual property – overview of TRIPS Agreement.” World Trade Organization, https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/intel2_e.htm. Accessed 2 July 2023.


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Written by- Meghana D