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Copyright Infringement: The Test of Substantial reproduction :The Case of Gulchhare And Goorcharrey Label

In the realm of intellectual property law, copyright plays a pivotal role in protecting the creative works of individuals and entities. This article delves into a legal analysis of a copyright dispute between the Petitioner and Respondent No. 1, centering around two artistic works, 'GULCHHARE' and 'GOORCHARREY LABEL,' and the implications under the Copyright Act.

The Petitioner filed a copyright registration application in April 2014 for the artistic work titled 'GULCHHARE,' associated with the product 'mast sevian.' The application was granted later that year, with a claim of first publication in 2009. Conversely, the Respondent No. 1 obtained copyright registration for 'GOORCHARREY LABEL' in April 2019. The central dispute arises from the alleged substantial similarity and imitation in the artistic work and packaging between the two parties.

Substantial Similarity:
The cornerstone of a copyright infringement claim is establishing substantial similarity between the copyrighted work and the allegedly infringing work. In this case, the Petitioner contends that Respondent No. 1's work is a slavish imitation of 'GULCHHARE,' raising questions about the level of similarity. Courts typically examine visual, auditory, and conceptual aspects of the works to determine substantial similarity.


The Petitioner further asserts that Respondent No. 1's work is a clear imitation of their own. Imitation implies a direct copying or replication of substantial elements from the original work. To assess this, courts consider whether the alleged infringing work reproduces the distinctive elements of the original without adding significant originality.

Distinguishing Elements:
It's crucial to identify any distinguishing elements between the two works. If these distinguishing features significantly impact the overall similarity, they may affect the assessment of copyright infringement. However, it's argued that in this case, the distinguishing elements do not mitigate the substantial similarity between the works.

Misuse of Known Cartoon Characters:
The Petitioner's use of cartoon characters raises questions about potential misuse. If these characters belong to another entity, it could constitute copyright infringement on a separate basis. Still, the current dispute focuses solely on the artistic work and packaging similarities between the parties, rather than the misuse of cartoon characters.

Legal Remedy:
Under Section 50 of the Copyright Act, the Petitioner seeks rectification and expungement of Respondent No. 1's registration from the Copyright Register, alleging that it was wrongly applied for as an original work. This section empowers the court to correct errors in the copyright registration process and protect the rights of legitimate copyright holders.

The Concluding Note:
The case of 'GULCHHARE' and 'GOORCHARREY LABEL' exemplifies the intricate nature of copyright disputes. To prevail, the Petitioner must demonstrate substantial similarity, imitation, and a lack of distinguishing elements between the two works. The court's decision will have far-reaching implications for copyright protection, potentially setting a precedent for future cases involving artistic works and packaging.

Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Manju Singal, Proprietor Singla Food Product Vs Deepak Kumar, Proprietor Sara Sales
Date of Judgement:06.09.2023
Case No. C.O.(COMM.IPD-CR) 715/2022
Neutral Citation No: 2023:DHC:6445
Name of Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Prathiba M Singh, H.J.

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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