Damages and Litigation Costs: Additive Emerging Reliefs Along with Injunction Orders in Counterfeit Cases

Damages and Litigation Costs: Additive Emerging Reliefs Along with Injunction Orders in Counterfeit CasesThe menace of counterfeit and spurious products continues unabated, but recent trends suggest that Indian courts are coming down upon counterfeiters with an iron hand. Since merely granting injunctions against such counterfeiters has not proved to be as effective as it was earlier thought, the courts are now awarding huge damages and litigation costs against such counterfeiters.

In the case of ITC Limited vs Ajit Traders & Ors. [CS(COMM) 87/2019], the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi came down heavily upon a retailer selling counterfeit “Aashirwad” atta. The retailer, who was impleaded as Defendant No.18(C), had been evading proceedings for a long time even though the suit had been decreed against all other defendants. Taking note of this conduct, the Hon’ble High Court only passed an ex parte decree of permanent injunction against this retailer, but he was directed to pay litigation costs to the plaintiff. In the judgment passed on October 04, 2023, the defendant was permanently injuncted from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale or advertising “atta” or any other product bearing the packagingAashrivaad, or any other deceptively similar variant thereof or from using the trademarks/logos “AASHIRVAAD”, “ITC” or any derivative thereof.

To ascertain the litigation cost, the matter was sent back to the taxation officer. A memo of cost was submitted by the counsel for the plaintiff, and on the basis of the bill of cost and the material/data provided by the counsel, the suit was finally taxed at Rs.4,63,000/-. The taxation officer is mentioned under Chapter XXIII Rule 1 of Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018, published vide Notification No. 100/Rules/DHC, dated 27.02.2018. This chapter describes the role of a taxation officer, which is to analyse the contents of a bill of costs and the basis of taxation of such costs.

Another highlight of this case was the conduct of another defendant who caused obstruction in the execution of the local commission by threatening the commissioner. The Hon’ble Court took note of it and imposed a cost of Rs. 3 lakhs on that defendant for his unruly behaviour.

Authors: Manisha Singh and Shivani Singh

First Published by: Lexology here