Auto Ltd. Vs. TVS Motor Company Ltd.  INSC 1590 (16 September 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL No.
6309 of 2009 (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.13933 of 2009) Bajaj Auto Limited
..Appellant versus TVS Motor Company Limited ..Respondent
This Appeal has been filed against the impugned order of the
Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Madras dated 18.5.2009 in
O.S.A. No. 92 of 2008.
It appears that a suit bearing No. C.S. No.1111 of 2007 had been
filed by the appellant herein before the learned Single Judge of the Madras
High Court alleging infringement of its patent No.195904 under the Indian
Patents Act, 1973 ( for short 'the Act').
The learned Single Judge granted an interim injunction on 16th
Challenging the said interim order dated 16th February, 2008, an
appeal was filed by the respondent-defendant before the Division Bench of the
Madras High Court which allowed the appeal by the impugned order dated
Hence, this appeal before us by special leave.
It is evident that the suit is still pending before the learned
Single Judge of the Madras High Court. We are unhappy that the matter has been
pending in the High Court at the 3 interlocutory stage for such a long time as
the suit was filed in December, 2007 and yet even written statement has not
Recently, we have held in Special Leave Petition(C) No.21594 of
2009 decided on 07th September, 2009 in the case of M/s. Shree Vardhman Rice
& Gen Mills vs. M/s Amar Singh Chawalwala as follows:
going into the merits of the controversy, we are of the opinion that the
matters relating to trademarks, copyrights and patents should be finally
decided very expeditiously by the Trial Court instead of merely granting or
refusing to grant injunction.
shows that in the matters of trademarks, copyrights and patents, litigation is
mainly fought between the parties about the temporary injunction and that goes
on for years and years and the result is that the suit is hardly decided
finally. This is not proper.
(a)to Order XVII Rule 1(2)C.P.C. states that when the hearing of the suit has
commenced, it shall be continued from day-to-day until all the witnesses in
attendance have been examined, unless the Court finds that, for exceptional
reasons to be recorded by it the adjournment of the hearing beyond the
following day is necessary. The Court should also observe clauses (b) to (e) of
the said proviso.
4 In our
opinion, in matters relating to trademarks, copyright and patents the proviso
to Order XVII Rule 1(2) C.P.C. should be strictly complied with by all the
Courts, and the hearing of the suit in such matters should proceed on day to
day basis and the final judgment should be given normally within four months
from the date of the filing of the suit."
As has been observed by us in the aforesaid case, experience has
shown that in our country, suits relating to the matters of patents, trademarks
and copyrights are pending for years and years and litigation is mainly fought
between the parties about the temporary injunction. This is a very
unsatisfactory state of affairs, and hence we had passed the above quoted order
in the above-mentioned case to serve the ends of justice. We direct that the
directions in the aforesaid order be carried out by all courts and tribunals in
this country punctually and faithfully.
In the present case, although arguments were advanced at some
length by the learned counsel for both the parties, we are of the opinion that
instead of deciding the case at the 5 interlocutory stage, the suit itself
should be disposed of finally at a very early date.
Hence, without going into the merits of the controversy, we direct
the respondent-defendant to file written statement in the suit, if not already
filed, on or before the last date for closing of the Madras High Court for
Dussehra holidays. We would request the learned Single Judge who is trying the
suit to commence the hearing of the suit on the re-opening of the Madras High
Court after Dussehra holidays and then carry it on a day to day basis. No
adjournment whatsoever ordinarily will be granted and the suit shall be finally
disposed of on or before 30th November, 2009.
The interim orders of this Court dated 08th June, 2009 and 31st
August, 2009 are vacated and substituted by the following directions.
The respondent shall be entitled to sell its product but it shall
maintain an accurate records/accounts of its all India and export sales.We are
appointing a Receiver to whom the records of such sale shall be furnished every
fortnight by the respondent 6 and the same shall be signed and authenticated by
a responsible officer of the respondent. A copy of the same shall be given to
the appellant also. We are requesting the Hon'ble the Chief Justice of the
Madras High Court to forthwith nominate a Receiver in the matter to whom the
sale records/accounts will be submitted by the respondent fortnightly, and the
Receiver will verify the said sale records/accounts and thereafter submit his
Report to the learned Bench of Madras High Court where the suit is pending.
A copy of
the same will be sent to the parties also. This direction will continue till
the pendency of the suit. The remuneration of the Receiver will be fixed by the
Hon'ble Chief Justice.
We make it clear that we are not making any observations on the
merits of the case. The learned Single Judge shall decide the suit without
being influenced by this order or by any observations made in the impugned
order of the Division Bench or in the order of the learned Single Judge
granting temporary injunction in favour of the appellant herein.
The Secretary General of this Court is directed to send a copy of
this judgment forthwith to the Registrar General of the Madras High Court who
shall place the same before Hon'ble the Chief Justice for obtaining the
Copy of this order be given to the parties today itself.
The Appeal is disposed of accordingly. No costs.
Appeal No.6310 of 2009 @ S.L.P.(C) No.14039 of 2009 18. Leave granted.
In view of our judgment in Civil Appeal arising from S.L.P.(C)
No.13933 of 2009, this appeal is also disposed of on the same terms. No costs.
............................J. [MARKANDEY KATJU]
............................J. [ASOK KUMAR GANGULY]