BAJAJ V. TVS
“A patent, or invention, is any assemblage of technologies or ideas
that you can put together that nobody put together that way before.
That’s how the patent office defines it. That’s an invention.”
These days with the advancement of the technologies and the demand of the society every industry is in the race to satisfy the needs of the people. Similar was the case between Bajaj Motors and TVS Motors. This patent war was over an Bajaj Pulsar DTS – I Technology based engine bearing patent no. 195904 with certain specifications which was granted in the favour of Bajaj in the year 2002and later infringed by TVS Motors. Upon this infringement Bajaj adopted standard modus operandi which was the initiation of a legal battle between the two giants.
In India the patent right is considered to be a civil right and calls for a civil suit. Upon the infringement of patent rights Bajaj filed for an injunction under O.39.R.1 of Civil Procedure Code wherein any person who is under the apprehension that the property which is the subjective matter of the dispute would be destroyed, hampered, removed or disposed off, in such a case the Court can order such injunctions. Upon filing such as application before the Single Bench of Chennai High Court and the same was passed in favour of Bajaj.
Consequent to such a restriction, TVS defended itself by filing an application under Section 106 of Indian Patent Act before the Madras High Court on the basis of its affirmation that Bajaj has made groundless allegations of infringement and sought order that TVS had not infringed any rights. However, the Madras High Court passed a restricted order stating that TVS could only work in respect of pending order and cannot take fresh order until the matter is subjudiced. However this was reversed by the Divisional Bench of same court and the injunction was removed. In pursuance to this, Bajaj appealed before the Supreme Court and the Hon’ble Apex Court upheld the decision of Chennai High Court.
In case of a litigation following three principles needs to be proved i.e.:
- The plaintiff must prove prima facie that the patent is valid and infringed.
- Balance of convenience in favour of the plaintiff.
- Irreparable loss would be caused in case the injunctions is not granted in favour of the plaintiff.
In this case, the court understood the validity of the patent since it fell within the time period of 20 years from the date of filling of application for patent in accordance to Section 53 of Indian Patent Act, 1970.
The court observed the conduct of the respondent i.e. TVS, since they did not raise any objections in respect of patent at the time of filing and they went ahead with revocation petition before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board challenging the patent after 5 years of it being granted.
Upon giving a fair opportunity to each litigant the court was of the view that the patent of the applicant was valid. This case was one of the case wherein the judiciary formulated a time period for its adjudication i.e. 4 months, and also directed all courts to comply by this direction all over the country punctually and faithfully. One loophole which was in evident from the trial that the respondent’s negligence in objecting the patent and filling a revocation petition before the Board upon infringement. The recent observation of the Hon’ble Apex Court is that no litigant can apply for a revocation petition and a patent counter claim simultaneously. This move of the Apex Court was an applauded as it was an attempt to avoid multiple proceedings in respect of same issue before two different forums.
Written by Sarvesh Giri