Delhi High Court transfers IP matters!

gavel-2-1236453As you may remember from our post, dated August 17, 2015, that the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed enhancing the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court to two crores.

This Act came into effect in October 2015, and in light of the same the Court issued a notification on November 24, 2015 commencing the transfer of around 12,000 cases of valued up to Rs. 2 crore to the concerned lower courts.

The notification stated that the following suits are to be transferred:

  • All suits or other proceedings pending in the Delhi High Court on the Original Side up to the value of rupees one crore, excepting those cases in which final judgments have been reserved, be transferred to the jurisdictional subordinate courts.
  • All suits or other proceedings the value of which exceeds rupees one crore but does not exceed rupees two crores, other than those relating to commercial disputes the specified value of which is not less than rupees one crore (as defined in The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Ordinance, 2015), pending in the Delhi High Court on the Original Side, excepting those cases in which final judgments have been reserved, be transferred to the jurisdictional subordinate courts.

The Delhi High Court (Amendment) Act, 2015is enacted with an objective to reduce the pressure and workload of the Delhi High Court, by distributing this burden to the lower courts. The Act empowered the Chief Justice of the High Court to transfer any pending suit valued up to Rs. 2 crore to the concerned lower court. In the pursuance of the same power the transfer of such cases to the subordinate courts was commenced from November 24, 2015.

Feeling aggrieved by the notification of transferring cases to subordinate jurisdiction, the same was challenged in a writ petition filed before the Delhi High Court by the Asian Patent Association. The petitioner contented before the court that since IPR cases do not mention the value of the intangible asset (patent, trademark or copyright etc.) and only specifies the value of relief. Further ‘relief’ is different from ‘specified value’, the registry of the Delhi High Court cannot compute ‘specified value’ in such cases. Therefore the order to transfer such cases is arbitrary and illegal. The Court directed the registry to submit its response on the challenge. .

Prima facie it appeared that this Act would not only bring down the workload of the High Court resulting in expedited disposal of matters but also provide the District Judges and Lawyers an opportunity to gain expertise in technical matters like Intellectual Property. It will be interesting to see in near future the status of IP litigation in India and the professional standing of the lawyers collective in the country after this change.

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