As you may remember from our post, dated November 28, 2015, that the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed enhancing the pecuniary jurisdiction of civil suits including the IPR cases pending with the Delhi High Court from existing Rs. 20 lakh totwo crores.
A division bench of the Delhi High Courthas recently extended the stay which was earlier granted by the another division bench of the High Court on December 3, 2015 on the transfer of pending commercial intellectual property rights cases arising out of the 5 IPR legislations (Patents Act, 1970, Trademark Act, 1999, Copyrights Act, 1957, Geographical Indications Act, 2010 and Designs Act, 2000) up to the value of Rs.1 crore to the 12 district Courts. This stay is extended until next date of hearing which is February 24, 2016.
As per the order dated November 24, 2015 of the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court, the suits and other proceedings of value of upto Rs. 1 crore pending before the Delhi High Court (Original Side) were to be transferred to jurisdictional district courts, except those cases where final judgement has been reserved and the suits and other proceedings of a value between Rs. 1 crore upto Rs. 2 crore, other than “commercial disputes” of “specified value” as defined under the Commercial Courts Ordinance, pending before the Delhi High Court (Original Side) were to be transferred to jurisdictional district courts, except those cases where final judgement has been reserved.
After the order dated November 24, 2015, the Delhi High Court started transferring the cases valued at less than Rs 2 crore to the 12 district courts and the Commercial Courts Ordinance that had created commercial courts and commercial appellate benches in the high courts.
Meanwhile, Vifor International and Asian Patent Association (APA) challenged thesaid order dated November 24, 2015 commencing the transfer of around 12,000 cases of valued up to Rs. 2 crore to the concerned lower courts. The plea was brought to the court for the reason that IPR cases do not mention the value of the intangible asset and only specifies the value of relief. Therefore, the transfer of commercial intellectual property right cases to district courts was brought to a halt on December 3, 2015via an interim order passed by a division bench.
The main contention before the court was that pending matters relating to IPR should not be transferred to lower courts in view of a provision in the Commercial Courts Ordinance, 2015.The ordinance later created an exception to this rule and clarified that all commercial disputes, involving IPR ones, shall be decided by specially created commercial divisions in the High Court, provided they were valued at over Rs. 1 crore.
Also recently, the Commercial Courts Ordinance, 2015 under challenge was replaced by the Commercial courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015, providing clarity in the way commercial intellectual property right cases have to be dealt with.
After this stay of transfer by the division bench of the Delhi High Court for transfer of intellectual property law cases, the only question to be addressed is regarding the recall of IP rights cases already transferred to district courts.
The intellectual property rights fraternity now await to see the final outcome of the writ petition.