Bombay HC Sentences Oil Proprietor in IPR Dispute

News    June 17, 2019
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copyright infringement

The Bombay High Court has convicted an oil proprietor of an edible oil company for 8 weeks for “brazen breach” of the March 2017 order,   for copyright infringement of Cargil India Pvt. Ltd, the Indian arm of the US multinational giant. Justice SJ Kathawalla of Bombay High Court was hearing the plea made by Cargil against MM Oil Enterprise, a Pune Pimpri based proprietary case of Aslam Noor Siddiqui. Cargil had filed the Intellectual Property Rights infringement suit for the same in March 2017. Cargil’s lawyer Rohan Kadam argued that it was actually Gemini’s oil well-known trademark which was being infringed by MM oil which came out with ‘Genuine’ oil.

The lawyer also asserted that even the packaging also looked alike and thus alleging “passing off” through the deceptively identical trademark on “Genuine- Refined Sunflower oil” and submitted the packet of the same.

In April 2017, the HC passed an interim order to restrain the oil proprietor from further manufacturing and selling of the goods. Justice Kathawalla said that the proprietor has disposed the goods seized earlier by the court. He also added that the owner at the initial stage made a false statement through his lawyer that the oil pouches which contained thousands of litres of edible oil were contaminated by rats.  The Court was of the view that such an accused does not deserve any leniency in punishment. Any lenient sentence would send a wrong message across the society that the Court itself was unfazed by the blatant disregard of oil proprietor, and is adopting forgive and forget policy. Justice also held that such a trend in his opinion would dismantle the deterrence principle and indicate that litigant can disrespect the court order with impunity and would still bestow mercy upon them.

Moreover, the Court noted that the defendant offered an apology at this juncture only to escape the punishment, that too at the last moment. Finally, the accused and his lawyer accepted and informed the Court that the proprietor has accepted the  IP rights infringement and also agreed to serve the sentence of 8 weeks, but pleaded to surrender after 14, 2019, at 10:00 am, due to the holy month of Ramadan.

The Court agreed to his plea and directed that the arrest warrant to be executed on June 14, by Azad Maidan Police. The Judge also stressed that it has seen an unhealthy trend of repetitive and brazen violation of Intellectual Property Rights by the litigants in the past few years. And at such time, the Court cannot be a mute spectator and need to take punitive action to bring an end to this unhealthy trend. For more visit:

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