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The Role of Local Commissioners in Patent Infringement Cases

The role of Local Commissioners in legal proceedings has been a subject of debate and contention in various cases, and their scope and purpose have been closely examined. In the context of a suit for Patent Infringement, the question arises: can a local Commissioner be appointed at the instance of the Plaintiff to search the premises of the Defendant and inspect the Defendant's products for mapping against the claims of the Plaintiff's patent? This article delves into a case where the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi rejected such a prayer, emphasizing the primary function of Local Commissioners to assist the Court rather than the parties involved.

The Case at Hand:
In the case under consideration, the Plaintiff filed an application under Order 26 Rule 4, 9, and 10A seeking the appointment of a local Commissioner to visit the Defendant's premises and inspect their PCA units. The purpose was to prepare a technical report mapping the Plaintiff's patent claims with the features of the Defendant's products, thereby demonstrating infringement of the Plaintiff's patent (referred to as IN '145).

The Plaintiff's application asserted that, through an analysis of the Defendant's product details, they had confirmed that their patent IN '145 was being infringed by the PCA units manufactured and sold by the Defendant. The applicant argued that an inspection by a local Commissioner would provide the best evidence of infringement to the Court.

The Defendant countered this request, contending that the Plaintiff had already claimed to possess sufficient evidence to establish infringement and that the mapping had been done using documents and materials that were not denied by the Defendant. They argued that there was no justification for the Plaintiff's application.

The Court's Decision:
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi, in its judgment, supported the Defendant's contention. It emphasized that Order XXVI Rule 10A should not be employed by a party who asserts that they possess ample evidence to support their case and only seeks to gather better evidence. The Court clarified that the provision is intended to assist the Court itself, not to assist any particular party.

The case discussed highlights an important principle in legal proceedings, particularly in matters of intellectual property and patent infringement. "It reinforces the notion that local Commissioners are primarily appointed to assist the Court in the pursuit of justice rather than to aid one party over the other."

In patent infringement cases, where the key question often revolves around the similarity or disparity between the claims of the patent and the defendant's product, it is crucial to appreciate the Court's role in the appointment of local Commissioners.

The Court's function is to ensure that justice is served and that evidence is obtained in a fair and unbiased manner. If a party claims to have enough evidence to support their case, the Court may be hesitant to appoint a local Commissioner, as this could be seen as an attempt to supplement their case rather than to serve the Court's purpose.

The Concluding Note:
The case under discussion underscores the importance of understanding the fundamental purpose of local Commissioners in legal proceedings, particularly in patent infringement cases. The primary objective is to aid the Court in its quest for impartial justice. Parties must be diligent in their presentation of evidence and should not attempt to misuse the provision of local Commissioners for their own benefit.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: ITW GSE APS Vs Dabico Airport Solutions Pvt.Ltd.
Date of Judgement/Order:31/10/2023
Case No.CS(COMM) 628/2023
Neutral Citation No: 2023:DHC:7900
Name of Hon'ble Court:High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge: C Hari Shankar, 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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