Plaintiff’s option to file suit under Copyright and Trademarks Act clarified: SC

In an important ruling, the Supreme Court of India clarified with regard to the place where a suit can be instituted by the plaintiff under the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

The Court agreed that the very language of section 62 of the Copyright Act and section 134 of the Trade Marks Act provides an additional forum (in addition to section 20 of Civil Procedure Code) by including a District Court within whose limits the plaintiff actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain.

“On a due and anxious consideration of the provisions contained in section 20 of the CPC, section 62 of the Copyright Act and section 134 of the Trade Marks Act, and the object with which the latter provisions have been enacted, it is clear that if a cause of action has arisen wholly or in part, where the plaintiff is residing or having its principal office/carries on business or personally works for gain, the suit can be filed at such place/s. However, this right to institute suit at such a place has to be read subject to certain restrictions, such as in case plaintiff is residing or carrying on business at a particular place/having its head office and at such place cause of action has also arisen wholly or in part, plaintiff cannot ignore such a place under the guise that he is carrying on business at other far flung places also”, the Court said.

The Court further added that the very intendment of the insertion of provision in the Copyright Act and Trade Marks Act is the convenience of the plaintiff. The rule of convenience of the parties has been given a statutory expression in section 20 of the CPC as well. The interpretation of provisions has to be such which prevents the mischief of causing inconvenience to parties.

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