Pre-litigation mediation not compulsory in Intellectual Property suits seeking urgent interim reliefs Delhi HC

Team SoOLEGAL 1 Sep 2022 6:18pm

Pre-litigation mediation not compulsory in Intellectual Property suits seeking urgent interim reliefs Delhi HC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has ruled that pre-litigation mediation is not necessary in IP cases seeking urgent interim relief.

Justice Prathiba M Singh held this while observing that in IP cases, interim injunction relief, such as at the ex-parte as well as ad-interim stages, is crucially significant because such cases involve not only the plaintiffs' and defendants' interests but also the customers/consumers of the products and services in question.

According to the Court, the scope of urgent relief that may be needed to be granted varies greatly depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.

According to the judge, such reliefs are typically granted by courts not only to protect statutory and common law rights but also to avoid misunderstanding, deception, unfair and fraudulent practices in the marketplace.

Justice Singh was hearing a trademark infringement, copyright, and unfair competition case brought by Bolt Technology OÜ, an Estonian company.

It was asserted that Bolt is a market leader on a global scale in the delivery of transportation and mobility services, such as the rental of vehicles, micro-mobility, car-sharing, the establishment of electric vehicle charging stations and docks, and a range of food and grocery delivery services.

According to Bolt, an Indian company is utilizing the same "BOLT" mark and color scheme for an electric vehicle charging station business, which is comparable to one of the services they offer.

The counsel for the defendant filed a preliminary objection seeking dismissal of the plaint for failure to comply with Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015.

The counsel argued that the Supreme Court had ruled in Patil Automation Private Limited & Ors. v. Rakheja Engineers Private Limited, the court ruled that pre-litigation mediation is required under Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act and that no suit can be filed if pre-litigation mediation is not utilized.

However, Justice Singh mentioned that the Supreme Court in Patil Automation had clearly stated that the judgment does not encompass suits seeking urgent interim relief.

She also stated that in the Deepak Raheja case, which was heard on appeal, a division bench of the Bombay High Court ruled that Section 12A does not apply if the suit seeks urgent relief.

As a result, the judge overruled the defendants' preliminary objection and ruled that the suit could proceed. It also ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiff $10,000.

The Court then referred the case to mediation under the aegis of the Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre, with Senior Advocate Sudhanshu Batra appointed as the mediator.

The judge ordered, “Parties to appear before the Delhi High Court Mediation Centre either virtually or physically, subject to the convenience of all concerned. It shall be ensured that competent officials on behalf of the Plaintiff and the Defendants shall be present in the mediation proceedings… if the matter is not resolved amicably, within one week, the application seeking urgent interim relief would be considered, on the next date of hearing.”

Tagged: Pre-litigation   mediation  
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