Your place or mine? Case changes jurisdictional rules

By Julien George, Saikrishna & Associates
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As a result of legislative policy, intellectual property rights holders can file a suit where they reside or carry on business or personally work for gain, instead of where defendants reside or the cause of action arises, which is the general rule under section 20 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.

Julie George
Julie George

IP rights (IPR) come into existence on creation, use or on registration of the IP (depending on the type of IP), and violations of IPR may occur anywhere in India, as opposed to other civil suits, where the cause of action arises when and where a party refuses to perform a mandated duty or obligation. Consequently, the legislature provided for an additional forum for IP owners to seek redressal against IPR infringement.

The IPR jurisdictional sections – section 62(2) of the Copyright Act, 1957, and section 134(2) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 – allow IPR owners to file suits where they ordinarily reside or carry on business, which until now was thought to be independent of where the cause of action arose. However, the Supreme Court of India has recently sought to curtail this interpretation of these sections in order to curb what the court saw as “undue harassment” to litigating parties.

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Julien George is a senior associate at Saikrishna & Associates. The views expressed in this article are personal.

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