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Maintainability of Letters Patent Appeal against Judgment passed by High Court in a Trademark Rectification Petition

The issue of maintainability of Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) against a judgment passed by the High Court in a Trademark Rectification Petition has been a matter of contention. This article analyzes the recent case post Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Vs Phonepe Private Limited & Anr [2023:DHC:3426-DB] and subsequent developments that affirm the maintainability of such appeals.

Background:
The case in question involved the dismissal of a rectification petition of a trademark by a Single Judge of the Delhi High Court. The respondent challenged the judgment by contending that the earlier decision of the Delhi High Court in Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Vs Phonepe Private Limited & Anr did not consider the scope of Limitation put by Section 13 of the Commercial Court Act 2015 to Appeals, particularly with reference to Letters Patent Appeal.

Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Vs Phonepe Private Limited & Anr:
In Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Vs Phonepe Private Limited & Anr, the Delhi High Court answered the issue of maintainability of an LPA against a judgment passed by the High Court in a rectification petition, in affirmative. However, the respondent argued that this judgment failed to consider the provisions of Section 13 of the Commercial Court Act 2015, which seemingly restricts any other intra-Court appeal, beyond the provision of Order 43 CPC.

The Hon'ble High Court's Ruling:
The Hon'ble Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, in the present case, reaffirmed its earlier judgment in Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Vs Phonepe Private Limited & Anr and held that an LPA against the judgment of a Single Judge in a Trademark Rectification Petition is maintainable, albeit supplementing with reasoning , as left out in Resilient Judgement.

Reasoning:
The Division Bench elucidated that the bar under Section 13 of the Commercial Court Act 2015 does not apply to judgments passed by Single Judges of the High Court in a Rectification Petition under Section 57 of Trade Marks Act 1999[ TMA].

The rationale behind this conclusion lies in the nature of jurisdiction exercised by a Judge in the Commercial Division while entertaining a petition under Section 57 of TMA. Section 57 enables any aggrieved person to seek cancellation or variation of a registered trademark before the High Court or the Registrar.

The power vested in the High Court under Section 57 is a specific authority conferred by the TMA and not derived from its existing ordinary original civil jurisdiction. Hence, when the High Court entertains a petition under Section 57, it does so solely through the avenue created by the TMA, rather than its general civil jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the Court referred to Section 13(1A) of the 2015 Act, which specifically mentions a judgment or order rendered by a commercial court exercising "original civil jurisdiction." Since the power exercised by the Commercial Division under Section 57 is not traceable to its original jurisdiction, appeals against judgments or orders not arising from the exercise of original jurisdiction would not be governed by Section 13 of the 2015 Act.

The Concluding Note:
The Hon'ble Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, through its reaffirmation of the earlier judgment in Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Vs Phonepe Private Limited & Anr, has clarified the maintainability of Letters Patent Appeals against judgments passed by the High Court in Trademark Rectification Petitions. The Court's reasoning underscores the distinction between the jurisdiction exercised under Section 57 of the TMA and the general civil jurisdiction of the Commercial Division, thus confirming the viability of such Letters Patent appeals.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: V R Holding Vs Heo Investcorp Limited
Date of Judgement/Order:04.08.2023
Case No. LPA 397 of 2023
Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC : 5458
Name of Hon'ble Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Yashwant Varma , H.J. and Dharmesh Sharma HJ

Disclaimer:
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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