Trend towards punitive damages for trademark infringement

By Manisha Singh Nair, Lex Orbis

The Trade Marks Act, 1999, which was passed in order to bring Indian trademark law into line with international laws, recognizes and provides for relief for infringement and passing off. Under the Act, the Indian courts can grant the following reliefs:

  1. permanent and temporary injunctions;
  2. rendition of accounts;
  3. compensatory and punitive damages;
  4. delivery of the infringing goods, labels or marks for destruction or erasure.

Until recently, granting of injunctions was the usual practice of Indian courts, however this has gradually been changing to a system in which the courts (particularly the high courts) have been awarding both compensatory and punitive damages for trademark infringement.

This change can be attributed to an increase in piracy and the need for deterrence. Damages are compensation paid by an infringer to the person whose rights have been infringed.

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Manisha Singh Nair is a partner at Lex Orbis, an intellectual property practice law firm headquartered in New Delhi


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