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Non-Usage Of A Patent In India As A Ground For Declining Injunction

This legal article examines the intricate legal nuances surrounding the refusal of an injunction in a patent infringement case due to non-use of the patent in India. It delves into the case of an alleged patent infringement involving a folded honeycomb invention, highlighting the pivotal role of the plaintiff's non-use of the patent and its implications on the court's decision to grant or decline an injunction.

Background of the Case:
In the case under scrutiny, the plaintiff filed a suit against the defendant for infringing their registered Indian Patent titled "Folded Honeycomb and Process for Producing the Same." The plaintiff's arguments were based on instances of encountering the infringing product during specific events and commercial transactions. It is noteworthy that the defendant's alleged infringement pertained to the Indian Patent, and the plaintiff did not manufacture or sell their patented product within India.

Non-Use of Patent as a Ground for Declining Injunction:
The focal point of the analysis lies in the court's assessment of whether the patentee's non-use of the patent in India can be a valid ground for refusing an injunction against the infringing party. The court, in this case, relied on precedent and jurisprudence, particularly the decision in the case of Franz Xaver Huemer v. New Yash Engineers (AIR 1997 Delhi 77). In the aforementioned case, the Delhi High Court established that a patentee's failure to utilize their patent rights within the jurisdiction can impact their equitable right to seek an injunction against infringers.

Court's Reasoning and Precedent:
The Hon'ble Delhi High Court referenced the earlier judgment and held that the non-user of the patented invention within India by the plaintiff was indeed a substantial factor in deciding the injunction's fate. The court opined that equity requires a patentee to actively use their patent rights within the jurisdiction to justify seeking an injunction against alleged infringers. The court's reliance on precedent highlights the significance of consistent legal principles and the weight they carry in shaping decisions.

Balancing Interests: Licensing and Ministry of Defence:

In the case at hand, the court's approach to balance the interests of both parties is noteworthy. Considering that the plaintiff was open to licensing its patented invention and the defendant was a supplier to the Ministry of Defence, the court's interim arrangement demonstrates the pragmatic approach taken to address competing interests and ensure fairness in the proceedings.

The Concluding Note:
The case serves as a prime example of the complex interplay between patent rights, non-use of patents, and the issuance of injunctions in the realm of intellectual property law. The court's reliance on precedent and its emphasis on equitable considerations underscore the importance of active patent use within the jurisdiction to validate a patentee's claim to injunctive relief.

Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Enconcore NV Vs Anjani Technoplast Limited
Date of Judgement:04.08.2023
Case No. CS Comm 382 of 2019
Neutral Citation No: 2023: DHC: 5528
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Prathiba M Singh, H.J.
Name of Court: Delhi High Court

Information and discussion contained herein is being shared in the public Interest. The same should not be treated as substitute for expert advice as it is subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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