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Consolidation of various Trademark Proceedings pending before various forum by High Court

This article analyzes the power and discretion of the High Court of Delhi to consolidate suit proceedings pending before the District Court, Delhi, cancellation proceedings pending before the Registrar of Trademarks, and appeal proceedings before the High Court, with reference to the Intellectual Property Division Rules, 2022. The High Court's reliance on a previous judgment and its reasoning for consolidation is also explored. This article examines the implications of such consolidation to avoid multiplicity of proceedings and conflicting rulings.

The consolidation of legal proceedings is a procedural mechanism used to streamline and unify multiple related cases before a single court for efficient adjudication. The High Court of Delhi recently exercised its power of consolidation under Rule 26 of the Intellectual Property Division Rules, 2022, while considering an appeal concerning the cancellation of a trademark registration. The Hon'ble High Court noticed that several related trademark matters were pending before different forums, creating a potential for conflicting decisions. This article explores the High Court's authority to consolidate such proceedings and the rationale behind its decision.

The subject matter of the appeal pertained to the trademark "SDHP," which was canceled by the Registrar of Trademarks, leading to the filing of an appeal before the High Court. However, the High Court observed that there were other connected proceedings on the same trademarks pending in different forums, namely:
  1. C.A. (COMM.IPD-TM) 1/2023 titled Romil Gupta Trading as Sohan Lal Gupta v. Registrar of Trade Marks & Anr before the High Court.
  2. CS (COMM) 117/2019 titled M/s Landmark Crafts Private Limited v. M/s Sohan Lal Gupta through its Proprietor Sh. Romil Gupta before the ld. ADJ (Commercial Court) Karkardooma Court.
  3. Rectification Application 266607 titled Romil Gupta Trading as M/s Sohan Lal Gupta v. Landmark Crafts Private Limited before the Registrar of Trade Marks.

The Judicial Precedent:
In its decision to consolidate the proceedings, the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi relied on the judgment in Jumeirah Beach Resort LLC v. Designarch Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (C.O (COMM-IPD-TM) 124/2022, order dated 28th November 2022). In the cited case, the court had dealt with the issue of consolidation of proceedings under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, and the IP Division Rules, 2022. The court had held that there was no impediment to directing the transfer of related matters to itself to avoid conflicting rulings, especially when other connected petitions were already pending before the court.

The Power of Consolidation under IP Division Rules:
Rule 26 of the IP Division Rules, 2022, confers the High Court with the power to consolidate related proceedings. The rule allows the court to transfer matters pending before different forums to itself for unified adjudication. This authority is exercised to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, save time, and ensure consistent decisions on related issues. The overarching objective is to promote efficiency and prevent conflicting outcomes in cases involving the same subject matter.

Section 125 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999:
Section 225 of Trademarks Act 1999 provides that where an application for rectification of the register is made to the Registrar under section 47 or section 57, the Registrar may, if he thinks fit, refer the application at any stage of the proceedings to the Appellate Board.[Now High Court].Rule 26 of the IP Division Rules, 2022, is framed in consonance with this section, and it enables the High Court to consolidate connected trademark proceedings before different forums to ensure a coherent and unified resolution.

The Rationale for Consolidation:
In the present case, the High Court of Delhi exercised its discretionary power to consolidate the proceedings involving the trademark "SDHP." By doing so, the court aimed to:
  1. Avoid Multiplicity of Proceedings:
    Consolidation helps prevent the duplication of evidence, arguments, and judicial efforts that would arise if each case is decided separately.
  2. Ensure Consistent Rulings:
    By centralizing the related matters before a single court, the risk of conflicting decisions is minimized, leading to a more coherent and predictable legal landscape.
  3. Promote Efficiency:
    Consolidation expedites the resolution of disputes by streamlining the judicial process, reducing delays, and preventing unnecessary litigation.
  4. Judicial Economy:
    Consolidation is conducive to the prudent use of judicial resources, saving time and effort for the court, parties, and legal practitioners.

The Concluding Note:
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi, in its wisdom, exercised its power and discretion under Rule 26 of the IP Division Rules and Section 125 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, to consolidate the trademark-related proceedings pending before different forums. This decision was driven by the desire to avoid multiplicity of proceedings and conflicting rulings, thereby promoting judicial efficiency and consistency.

The consolidation of the proceedings concerning the trademark "SDHP" before the High Court ensures that all aspects of the dispute can be holistically considered, leading to a more comprehensive and just resolution of the matter.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Romil Gupta Trading as Sohan Lal Gupta Vs Registrar of Trade Marks and another
Date of Judgement:24.07.2023
Case No.CA Comm IPD TM 01 of 2023
Neutral Citation:2023:DHC:5129
Name of Hon'ble Court:High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge:Prathiba M Singh, H.J.

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

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

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