File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Intellectual Property Rights and Scope of Section 106 of The Patents Act, 1970

An intellectual[1] is a person whose works, skills, studies, etc, with regard to a variety of different ideas. Property designates those things that are commonly recognised as being the possessions of an individual or a group. So, Intellectual Properties are those tangible or intangible properties associated with the work or ownership rights of such persons. The first right, known as Intellectual property rights, was copyright. The ancient Greeks and Romans were concerned about their work; however, they did not had any means to protect their work. It was not until the invention of printing press in the late fifteenth century that a form of copyright protection was devised.

At that time, churches had control, and the works, mainly by religious scholars, were mostly limited to the royal courts. Therefore, the vast majority of the population was illiterate since only privileged members of society had access to these manuscripts. However, due to the invention of the printing press the ability to print books easily, cheaply and in large volumes raised the issue of illegal copying and piracy. The monarch of England exercised its power to regulate this illegal copying and piracy. The Licensing Act of 1662[2], which introduced a registry of licensed books, also mandated the submission of a copy of these books for licensing. The Stationers' Company was responsible for managing these deposits and was authorised to confiscate books believed to contain content deemed antagonistic to the Church or Government.

The Licensing Act of 1662 was revoked by 1681, and the Stationers' Company enacted a by-law to grant ownership rights of registered books to certain members, continuing their regulation of the printing industry. The Statute of Anne in 1709[3] established copyright protection for books and other writings, marking the world's first Copyright Act. It introduced the author as the copyright owner and fixed terms of protection for published works, also mandating the deposit of nine copies in libraries nationwide. The incident at the 1873 Vienna International Exhibition, where countries hesitated due to inadequate legal protection, spurred the 1883 Paris Convention[4].

This treaty aimed to harmonize industrial property laws globally and led to the establishment of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1967[5]. The Paris Convention ensured equal treatment for nationals of signatory countries regarding industrial property laws. The subsequent Berne Convention in 1886 focused on protecting literary and artistic works, adapting over time to changing copyright laws.India's intellectual property rights (IPR) history dates back to 1856, with the first IPR legislation granting exclusive privileges to inventors. The Indian Patents Act of 1970[6] was a significant advancement, aligning with international conventions and promoting Indian inventors' rights. As per law, legal rights or monopoly rights are given to the creator or innovator to harvest the economic benefits of their invention or creation. IPR provides a secure environment for investors, scientists, artists, designers, traders, etc.

Classification of Intellectual Property Rights

IPRs can be categorised based on the type of invention and creation of the human mind and their practical application as follows:
  1. Patents: According to the Indian Patents Act 1970, new inventions in the field of art, processes, methods, or manners of manufacture, machinery, apparatuses, and other substances produced by manufacturers. A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. Patents have 20 years of life duration, and this right can be extended by re-registration.
  2. Trademarks: Trademarks are governed by The Trade Marks Act 1999. A trademark is a symbol that can differentiate the products or services of one company from those of others. Section 2 (e) defines the certification trade mark means a mark capable of distinguishing the goods or services in connection with which it is used in the course of trade which are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics from goods or services not so certified and registrable as such under Chapter IX in respect of those goods or services in the name, as proprietor of the certification trade mark, of that person.
  3. Copyrights: Copyright pertains to literary and artistic expressions, encompassing works like books, music, paintings, sculptures, films, and technology-oriented creations such as computer programs and electronic databases. In some contexts, copyright is known as authors' rights. This right is governed by the Copyright Act of 1957 in India.
  4. Geographic indications: A geographical indication (GI) is a mark applied to products that originate from a specific geographical area and have characteristics or a reputation linked to that origin. A sign must indicate that a product comes from a particular location to be recognised as a GI. The Geographical Indications Of Goods (Registration And Protection) Act, 1999 is the governing legislation in India. These rights are granted for 10 years and can be re-registered. This law has been drafted considering the guidelines of the WTO (TRIPS). Since India is a Signatory to the WTO resolution.

There are other IPRs as well, such as Industrial designs, Semiconductor Integrated Circuit of Layout Designs (SICLD), Protection of plant varieties & farmer's rights, and Protection of Biological Diversity. They are governed by the New Designs Act of 2000, the SICLD Act of 2000, the Protection of Plants Varieties and Farmers Rights Act of 2001, and the Biological Diversity Act of 2002, respectively.

Trade secrets are also an area of IPR. However, there is no legislation as such for them. They can be inferred from legal precedents as defined by Beyond Dreams Entertainment v Zee Entertainment Enterprises (2016)[12]:
  1. the information must be confidential;
  2. it must have been disclosed in circumstances from which an obligation of confidentiality arises; and
  3. the confidant should be attempting to use or disclose the information.


The word "Patent"[13] Originates from the Latin term "Patere," which means "to expose," indicating making something available for public scrutiny. It refers to a document that provides exclusive privileges to an inventor. A patent can be described as the "exclusive right to utilise or practice an invention awarded to an individual for a specified duration in exchange for revealing the invention." According to the Oxford Dictionary, a patent is a governmental authorisation granting an individual or organisation particular rights or ownership, particularly the exclusive right to produce, utilise, or market an invention.

On the international level, patents were recognised after the signing of the Patent Cooperation Treaty in Washington in 1970. This treaty entered into force on January 24, 1978, and became operational on June 1, 1978, with an initial 18 contracting states. This treaty set the international standard for granting patent rights, and India, one of the signatories of this treaty, drafted its own Patent Act, commonly referred to as The Patents Act 1970.

Indian Patents Act grants certain privileges to patent holders and also protects them against frivolous threats of infringement proceedings. Under Section 106[14] of the Patents Act of 1970, this section grants certain powers to the courts, such as:

Power of court to grant relief in cases of groundless threats of infringement proceedings:
  1. Where any person (whether entitled to or interested in a patent or an application for a patent or not) threatens any other person by circulars or advertisements or by communications, oral or in writing addressed to that or any other person, with proceedings for infringement of a patent, any person aggrieved thereby may bring a suit against him praying for the following reliefs, that is to say:
    1. a declaration to the effect that the threats are unjustifiable;
    2. an injunction against the continuance of the threats; and
    3. such damages, if any, as he has sustained thereby.
  2. Unless in such suit the defendant proves that the acts in respect of which the proceedings were threatened constitute or, if done, would constitute, an infringement of a patent or of rights arising from the publication of a complete specification in respect of a claim of the specification not shown by the plaintiff to be invalid, the court may grant to the plaintiff all or any of the reliefs prayed for.
Explanation: A mere notification of the 1 [existence] of a patent does not constitute a threat of proceeding within the meaning of this section.

Scope and Legal Standards are followed in India
Owners of intellectual property (IP) rights are prevented from issuing baseless threats against individuals and businesses. Section 106 of the Patents Act, 1970 outlines a mechanism to safeguard the interests of individuals and companies from such unfounded threats. If someone is being threatened, they can seek relief through legal action.

The affected party can file a lawsuit in court against these unjustified threats. The court, upon hearing the plaintiff's arguments regarding the baseless threats, may issue the following:
  1. A declaration in the judgment stating that the threats are groundless and should not be faced by the affected party.
  2. An interim or permanent injunction to stop the continuation of baseless threats.
  3. Compensation for any monetary losses or damage to reputation caused by these baseless threats can be claimed and awarded in court.
The court has the discretion to grant any or all of these remedies as it sees fit.

In such a lawsuit, the burden of proof initially rests on the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant's IP rights are invalid. If the plaintiff fails to prove this, the burden then shifts to the defendant. The defendant must then prove that the alleged infringer violated the IP rights and committed patent infringement. If the defendant cannot prove any infringement by the plaintiff, the plaintiff is entitled to the remedies sought.

In the case of LG Electronic India Pvt Ltd v. Bharat Bhogilal Patel & Ors.,[15] the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi issued an order restraining the defendant from further imposing baseless threats against the Complainant (Present Plaintiff). In this case, the complainant is a company situated in Delhi that imports at various Indian ports, one of them being Mumbai Air Cargo Complex. Defendant No. 1 filed a complaint against the Plaintiff and several importers for allegedly infringing on their patent rights. This complaint triggered the application of Section 106 of the Patent Act of 1970, which safeguards against unjustified threats of patent infringement.

The Plaintiff, in response, received a show cause notice from Defendant No. 2 and later filed a revocation petition challenging the validity of the patent in question. Despite being an "Accredited Client," Plaintiff faced obstacles in their imports due to actions by Defendant No. 2, leading to legal disputes regarding patent enforcement rules. Thus, the Plaintiff filed this case to get an appropriate order from the Hon'ble Court to restrain the defendants from infringing its rights and ordering an injunction until the defendants prove that the patent is a valid patent.

In the case of Bajaj Auto Ltd v. TVS Motor Company Ltd,[16] the Hon'ble Supreme Court observed that the TVS Motor introduced its TVS Flame 125 CC Bike, causing a setback to Bajaj Auto's planned launch of the Bajaj XCD 125 CC Bike. Bajaj Auto Ltd then filed a suit under Section 108 of the Patents Act, 1970, alleging that TVS Motor infringed on their patented technology by using it in the TVS Flame Bike. Bajaj Auto sought an injunction to prevent TVS from infringing on their patent.

In response, TVS filed a counter-suit under Section 106 of the Patents Act, 1970, claiming that Bajaj Auto's threats were baseless and unjustified. They requested a permanent injunction to stop Bajaj Auto from issuing such threats and interfering with the production, marketing, and sale of their TVS Flame product. Additionally, they sought compensation for damages resulting from these groundless threats.

The Hon'ble Court considered whether TVS had indeed infringed on Bajaj Auto's patented technology and whether Bajaj Auto's threats were unjustified attempts to gain a monopoly in the automobile market.

The Hon'ble Court determined that if TVS had directly copied Bajaj Auto's patented technology, it would have constituted infringement. However, since TVS had made significant improvements and modifications, the Court ruled that there was no infringement.

Furthermore, the Hon'ble Court emphasised that even minor modifications or variations in technology could prevent infringement. Therefore, the Court sided with TVS Motor, finding Bajaj Auto's threats to be baseless and unjustified.

In the case of Bata India Ltd v. Vitaflex Mauch GMBH,[17] the Hon'ble Delhi High Court observed that Vitaflex, a shoe distributor, alleged that Bata, a shoe manufacturer, infringed on their intellectual property rights with their shoe brand "Nach Dr Mauch," designed for a five-point foot pressure system. However, Bata's shoes used a six-point pressure formation. Vitaflex issued a notice claiming infringement despite their patent application still pending. Bata then challenged these groundless threats in the Delhi High Court, asserting that no infringement had occurred, as Vitaflex's patent was not yet registered.

The Hon'ble Delhi High Court ruled favouring Bata, stating that Vitaflex's legal notices amounted to unjustifiable and baseless threats. The Court affirmed that Bata had the right to seek an injunction under Section 106 of the Patents Act, 1970, against such threats. The judgement highlighted the importance of ensuring that claims of intellectual property infringement are substantiated and not made prematurely or without merit.

Scope of Section 106 of The Patents Act, 1970

Section 106 of The Patents Act of 1970 grants such power to the Courts to grant such relief as the case may be where the defendant has filed a frivolous patent claim against the Plaintiff and threatens to infringement proceeding against the plaintiff, where this threat causes or likely to cause damages such as damage reputation of plaintiff, restricts the plaintiff ordinary course of business, and damages in terms of loss of profit etc. Then, the Hon'ble Court, with proper jurisdiction, can issue such reliefs as may be pleaded by the plaintiff, or the Hon'ble Court can grant relief that it may find just and fair.

Under Section 106 of the Patents Act, the Hon'ble Court has the authority to pass any judgment or order that the threats are groundless and unjustifiable to be faced by the aggrieved, can order an injunction until the defendant proves that the threat was justified at an appropriate form and can grant compensation to the plaintiff to the losses and reputational damages as may be incurred by the plaintiffs.

This section protects any person being wrongfully threatened by groundless threats of infringement proceedings. However, if the other party (who sues for infringement) can prove the infringement of their patent, then this section cannot be enforced.

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) encompass a range of protections for creative and innovative works. They include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and geographic indications, among others. These rights are crucial for creators and innovators to safeguard their creations and inventions from unauthorized use or exploitation. India has a rich history of IPR legislation dating back to the 19th century, with significant advancements like the Indian Patents Act of 1970 aligning with international standards.

One of the key provisions in IPR law is Section 106 of the Patents Act, 1970, which addresses groundless threats of infringement proceedings. This section empowers the courts to grant relief to individuals or companies facing unjustified threats, such as injunctions against further threats, declarations of unjustifiability, and compensation for damages incurred. It plays a vital role in ensuring that IPR owners are not unduly harassed or hindered by baseless claims.

In recent legal cases like LG Electronic India Pvt Ltd v. Bharat Bhogilal Patel & Ors., Bajaj Auto Ltd v. TVS Motor Company Ltd, and Bata India Ltd v. Vitaflex Mauch GMBH, Section 106 has been instrumental in protecting the rights of the aggrieved parties against frivolous threats and unjustified claims of infringement. These cases highlight the importance of a robust legal framework that balances the interests of IPR owners and potential infringers while promoting innovation and creativity.

  1. A Handbook on Laws Relating to Intellectual Property Rights in India, available at: Study on (, (last visited on May 11, 2024).
  2. The Licensing Act of 1662, UK, available at: Call for Papers: VIPS Student Law Review (Volume 6), (last visited on May 11, 2024).
  3. The Statute of Anne of 1709, UK, available at:, (last visited on May 11, 2024).
  4. WIPO, Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, (last visited on May 11, 2024).
  5. WIPO, Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, (last visited on May 11, 2024).
  6. The Patents Act, 1970 (Act 39 of 1970).
  7. Members' Reference Service Larrdis Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, Intellectual Property Rights in India.pdf, (Last visited on May 9, 2024).
  8. WIPO, Trademarks, (Last visited on May 9, 2024).
  9. The Trade Marks Act, 1999, (Act 47 Of 1999), s. 2(e).
  10. WIPO 'Understanding Copyright and Related Rights', wipo_pub_909_2016.pdf, (Last visited on May 9, 2024).
  11. WIPO, Geographical Indications: What do they specify?, (Last visited on May 9, 2024).
  12. Beyond Dreams Entertainment v Zee Entertainment Enterprises (2016) 5 Bom CR 266
  13. Prof. Dr. Jyoti Rattan, Patents Act (Bharat Law House Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, 1st edn., 2021)
  14. The Patents Act, 1970, (Act 39 of 1970), s. 106.
  15. LG Electronic India Pvt Ltd v. Bharat Bhogilal Patel & Ors., (2012) 51 PTC 513
  16. Bajaj Auto Ltd v. TVS Motor Company Ltd, (2009) 9 SCC 797
  17. Bata India Ltd v. Vitaflex Mauch GMBH, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 11505

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly