Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, March 1, 2022:  The establishment of the Intellectual Property Division (IPD) within the Delhi High Court to adjudicate on Intellectual Property Disputes was introduced in the National Seminar On Adjudication of IPR Disputes in India, held on February 26, 2022. It was also notified in this Seminar that the Delhi High Court has now finalized the Delhi High Court Intellectual Property Rights Division Rules, 2022 and High Court of Delhi Rules Governing Patent Suits, 2022.

The Seminar started with a small introduction pertaining to the issues of transfer of jurisdiction relating to IPR disputes to the High Courts and the requirement of a  proper mechanism for administering these cases to deal with the docket that lies ahead. Through the new Rules, Delhi High Court has prepared a blueprint governing such disputes which will be tailored to the peculiarities presented by the IP Cases.

The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, was the Guest of Honour,  the Chief Justice of India, Justice N.V. Ramana, was the Chief Guest and the Seminar was also graced with the presence of Justice D.N. Patel (Chief Justice, Delhi High Court),  Justice Prathiba M. Singh (Chairperson, IPD Committee), Justice Sanjeev Narula (Member, IPD Committee) alongwith various Judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts, District Courts, Advocates, stakeholders & bureaucrats.

In his Welcome Speech, Justice D N Patel said that it was under the vision of Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharama, that led to the enactment of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021. He gave a brief description of the factual matrix which prompted the High Court to conduct this Seminar. 

The IPAB- Intellectual Property Appellate Tribunal was abolished and the Tribunal Reforms Act came into force which gave jurisdiction to the High Courts to hear the Appeals emanating from the IP office as well as original proceedings under various IP legislations.

With the abolition of the IPAB, the jurisdiction of the High Court with respect to IPR matters expanded considerably and in order to streamline the flow of cases a committee was constituted by Justice Patel also consisting of Justice Singh and Justice Narula who reviewed the matter related to IPR litigation and the committee came up with the draft Rules by taking inputs from the stakeholders which led to the framing of the Rules, which have now been notified by the Delhi High Court.

“Delhi HC is having IPR over the subject of IPR”

The Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court said that the IPR field is undoubtedly a complex one with no geographical boundaries.IPR Disputes may look private in nature but in reality most of the times these also involve elements of public interest. Delhi, being the capital, has always been the hub of IPR matters since its inception, he added.

Many of the rulings given by the High Court have become path breaking judgments which are reported as precedents both nationally and internationally.  Citing various cases of brands like Whirlpool, Cipla, Naukri.com, Glenmark, Philips, Ericsson etc, he highlighted that Delhi HC is having IPR over the subject of IPR and also stated that the establishment of IP division will create a speedy mechanism for disposal of IPR Disputes. 

The Home Coming- From the IPAB to the IPD

Saying that the journey of IP Litigation in India has come full circle from the High Courts to the IPAB and back, Justice Pratibha M. Singh called this as ‘The Home Coming’. She discussed the history of the IP litigation in the Country and the immense help received from the IP fraternity in framing the Rules. She highlighted that an IP friendly adjudication regime would encourage local businesses to recognise foreign IP owners and also mentioned that the idea that intellectual property is an elitist field of law, is completely misplaced.

“This is the time to recalibrate IP adjudication”

Talking about the creation of an IP adjudication system which is uniform across the country beginning with the Commercial Courts and up till the Intellectual Property Division in the High Courts, she opined that accessibility ought to be improved without compromising on the quality of adjudication which can be achieved through interlinking of IP Courts at the Commercial Court level and the Intellectual Property Divisions in the High Court and by the sharing of best practices and knowledge.

“The Intellectual Property Division of the Delhi High Court is one defining step towards the same and there are miles to go… before we sleep”, she added.

She also brought in the aspect of assistance which is required and which should be readily available in the form of procedural assistance and access to experts from various areas of law, economics, sciences, etc. and the continuous engagement on such a platform.

“Intellectual Property Division of the Delhi High Court and its functioning would hopefully serve as a model which could be replicated” 

Chief Justice of India, N V Ramana, congratulated the Delhi High Court for the creation of the IPD. He said that Intellectual property is a field of law which protects creativity and innovation and it also touches every aspect of our life. Throwing light on the areas in which there has been an impact of the IPR, he stated that India has rightfully earned the title of “pharmacy of the world”.  Indian Pharmas have been producing low-cost treatments for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, and are the major vaccine producers of the world, he said.

Talking about the second sector of Agriculture, he cited the TRIPS agreement and mentioned that huge investments are being made in bio-technology and private ownership has come into play. These companies expect a certain level of protection for the variants of plants they develop. 

He then moved on to the adoption of GI- Geographical Indication and stated that India has approximately 400 registered geographical indications and there is an immediate need to take corrective steps to achieve the full potential of geographical indications.

He also highlighted the aspect of start-ups coming up in a big way across the country driven by innovative youth and this field of law becoming more relevant than ever before. He mentioned that the Intellectual Property Division of the Delhi High Court and its functioning would hopefully serve as a model which could be replicated. 

The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the Delhi High Court on finalizing these two important set of Rules and also gave her best wishes towards more stride in the field of IP regime. 

According to her, given the influx of a huge number of cases, the Delhi High Court rose to a challenge and viewed this as an opportunity to reconceptualize the manner in which IP litigation is handled and thus, it announced the creation of a new Intellectual Property Division, a first of its kind. She also stressed on the fact that it is important for the IPR regime to provide an impetus to match the pace and demands of the Indian Economy.

Addressing the Seminar she talked about strengthening the IPR ecosystem and how IPR has to play an important role given India is at a stage where growth and focus on development has got to be strengthened from every aspect. She also discussed the importance of innovation in start-up and the IPR protection to be provided.

Appreciating the effort of Delhi High Court in framing the Rules, she added that there is a tone of assurance that India’s Jurisprudence is very well evolved and today, even handling a complex and global matter such as IPR is happening with certain sense of confidence and strength. She also talked about the scheme for Intellectual Property Protection.

“This is a world of Web 3.0, Industrial Revolution 4.0”

She also cited some new advancements like the Drone technology , which is being expanded into agriculture and services, Genome and Geospatial areas, semiconductors, battery or energy as service , artificial intelligence etc. and said, “This is a world of Web 3.0, Industrial Revolution 4.0”  which is driven by technologies and innovation. Economic activity is moving more towards these areas which are so dependent on getting their patent and copyrights registered, she added.

Referring to the Rules and the new set up established, she said that the Country will benefit from this great exercise.

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