A John Doe order is a type of pre-infringement injunction used to safeguard the
creator's intellectual property rights in artistic works such as movies and
songs. The Rolling Anton Pillar, Anton Pillar, or Ashok Kumar order is another
name for the John Doe order. The concept of a John Doe order was developed by
the Court of Queen's Bench in the United Kingdom as an extraordinary equitable
remedy in which an injunction order is issued against an unknown defendant,
allowing the plaintiff to search and seize the infringer's premises with the
goal of preserving evidence that might be destroyed.
The John Doe order concept has changed over time to meet the needs of keeping up
with unusual complications. In India, intellectual property rights have been
recognised to protect the rights of those who invest in research and
development, and the government has enacted various laws to protect the rights
of investors and researchers, including the Copyrights Act of 1957 and the
Patent Act of 1970.
However, these laws are insufficient to address conflicts of interest in matters
involving trademarks, copyright infringement, and personal privacy, among other
things. The emergence and acknowledgment of intellectual property rights have
prompted Indian courts to intervene in situations of copyright infringement. One
notable result of such efforts is the John Doe order.
John Doe Orders in India
Order 30 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure states that if a petitioner has
reason to believe that his or her information will be used to infringe on
copyrights, or if he or she has reason to believe that his or her works will be
copied for financial gain, he or she may petition the court for a John Doe
Under Order 39 Rule 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the court has
the authority to issue a John Doe order by issuing an injunction order.
The John Doe order has gained international recognition and internal acceptance
as a method of enforcing intellectual property rights. Although Indian courts
have begun issuing John Doe orders, their usefulness and implementation need to
In Delhi High Court, Taj Television Ltd. & Anr. vs. Rajan Mandal & Ors
. ( F.S.R. 22), The first ex-parte interim order was issued, allowing the plaintiff
to search and seize the equipment and gadgets of unknown defendants, kicking off
the jurisprudence of issuing orders against unknown defendants, which is known
as John Doe's/ Ashok Kumar's order.
This case gave John Doe orders in India due
recognition, and since then, other courts have utilised similar principles to
defend the rights of intellectual property creators.
In Delhi High Court, ESPN Software v Tudu Enterprises
(CS/OS/384/2011), The use
of the John Doe order is not limited to the media business; it has spread to
other fields as well. One example is when a court orders the seizure of
counterfeit products in the possession of an unknown person for infringement of
the plaintiff's trademark and copyright.
The John Doe order is based on several instances in which a court must issue
such orders even before an infringement occurs. It is done in the form of a Quia
Timet injunction to preserve the plaintiff's rights and to prevent threatening
or imminent unjust acts by an unknown defendant. In India, the John Doe order
has not been extended to include violations of intellectual property rights.
People are unaware that it exists, even though it was already included in our
criminal laws to safeguard intellectual property infringement.
Conditions to pass John Doe Order
Order 39, regulations 1 and 2 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC), coupled
with S. 151 of the CPC and the provisions of the Specific Relief Act, 1963
related to permanent injunctions, are used by Indian courts to issue John Doe
orders. There are some requirements that must be met in order for the Court to
issue a John Doe order.
The following are some of the conditions that have been
mentioned in various legal rulings:
- A prima facie case must be established by the plaintiff(s).
- The plaintiff(s) must also show that if the John Doe order is not passed, he or
she will suffer real or probable damage or irreparable losses.
- The plaintiff should win on the balance of convenience.
In Supreme court of India, Laxmikant vs. Patel vs. Chetanbhat Shah and Anr
(Appeal (civil) 8266-8267 of 2001), wherein the Supreme Court held in no
uncertain terms that a person may sell his goods or deliver his services under a
trading name or style that, with the passage of time, may acquire a reputation
or goodwill and may become a property to be protected by the Courts, while
considering a plea of passing off and grant of an ad interim injunction.
decided that a rival who starts selling goods or services under the same name or
imitates the name injures the business of the person who owns the property in
that name. It was held that in the world of business, honesty and fair play are
and should be the basic policy, and that when a person adopts or intends to
adopt a name in connection with his business or services that already belongs to
someone else, it causes confusion and has the potential to divert the customers
and clients of someone else to himself, causing injury.
Although the John Doe order appears to be in the correct path from a security
standpoint, its fundamental goal must be protected. The basic goal of the
injunction should not be altered by a vague injunction, as this can be an abuse
of the legal process, and this type of general and vague anticipatory injunction
should never be issued. To preserve the public's interest, the breadth and scope
of such directives should be clearly defined to prevent misuse.
In India, the use of John Doe orders has resulted in an unusual increase in
knowledge and a sense of protection among Intellectual Property owners. The main
point of the John Doe order in front of the court of law is that what if the
unidentified defendants are:
- unaware of such orders or
- unwilling to follow such orders or
- avoids and prefers to continue with such infringement even after that,
then what is the point of having served such orders as it will be completely
useless if the ultimate goal of having IPR protection.
- Taj Television Ltd. & Anr. vs. Rajan Mandal & Ors. ( F.S.R.
- ESPN Software v Tudu Enterprises (CS/OS/384/2011)
- Laxmikant vs. Patel vs. Chetanbhat Shah and Anr (Appeal (civil)
8266-8267 of 2001)
- John Doe Order.
- Order 39 rule 1
John Doe Order And Intellectual Property Right