The IP litigation landscape in India has witnessed a paradigm shift over the last decade. There is an alignment of focus by the legislature and the judiciary to address the pressing need for expeditious disposal of cases.
The Indian judicial system is a federal one comprising a Supreme Court, 24 High Courts and over 600 District Courts. Of the 24 High Courts 5 have original jurisdiction, in other words these are courts of first instance. Intellectual property litigation is largely concentrated in the High Courts of Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai which are courts of first instance. Typically, there are two levels of appeal from the orders of the courts.
Trademark litigation takes the lead in overall volumes of litigation followed by copyright and patent litigation. Misuse of trade secrets, know how and confidential information are also frequently the subject matter of IP litigation and the law is shaped through decisions of Courts. Criminal litigation is an additional enforcement mechanism adopted primarily in counterfeiting cases. Occasionally, criminal cases with IP roots filed as a tool to force a settlement or bring about a balance of power with right owners are encountered. The latter phenomenon is fortunately not too common.
POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS (SHRINKING TIMELINES, DAMAGES)
The IP litigation landscape in India has witnessed a paradigm shift over the last decade. There is an alignment of focus by the legislature and the judiciary to address the pressing need for expeditious disposal of cases, in particular those of a commercial nature including IP which impact the economy. Resultantly amendments have been made in the procedural laws to tighten procedure and minimize delay.
With periodic judges’ training workshops courts have been equipped to understand the basics and also the finer nuances of intellectual property jurisprudence.
In early 2016 the Parliament passed a law for setting up of ‘commercial courts’ for speedier and effective resolution of commercial disputes. The life span of an IP lawsuit in commercial courts when fully functional will be comparable to some of the most developed jurisdictions worldwide.
The courts are increasingly conscious of the importance of awarding damages as an integral component of litigation and are ensuring the establishment of a culture of grant of compensatory and or punitive damages when the claim for damages is well supported and argued. Patent litigation in particular has witnessed an increasingly high incidence of grant of damages.
The Firm provides a smorgasbord of litigation services to a widely varying set of clients across different industries and business sectors from every corner of the world. We represent clients in all manner of litigation in the courts of first instance and the appellate courts (courts of second instance) in cities across the country, and in the Supreme Court of India which is the last court of appeal.
Our experience in litigation services includes but is not limited to all conventional IP subject matter such as trademarks, patents, designs, copyrights, trade secrets and confidential information, and expanded claims of unfair competition under common law, competition law, arbitration, the law of torts, constitutional challenges, media & entertainment law, IT & e-commerce, plant varieties, geographical indications, etc.
We see alternate dispute resolution as a very important aspect of litigation and for this reason we assist clients with equal vigor and commitment in ADR as we apply in litigation, understanding and ensuring that litigation serves as a precise means to an end rather than be an end in itself.
The Firm’s primary focus is to responsibly and determinedly assist courts and tribunals in developing IP jurisprudence while meeting its clients’ objectives and expectations from litigation in the most resource efficient and cost effective manner. Unique remedies are explored and case-appropriate strategies applied to achieve the best results for our clients.