Difference between Non-Disclosure of Cause of Action and Defective Cause of Action
This analytical legal article discusses the distinction between
non-disclosure of cause of action and defective cause of action in the context
of a trademark infringement case. The case in question involves an appeal
challenging the rejection of a plaint under Order 7, Rule 11 of the Code of
Civil Procedure, 1908 (C.P.C) on the ground that the plaint does not disclose
the cause of action. The crux of the dispute centers around the timing of
trademark registration and its impact on the existence of the cause of action
for trademark infringement.
Non-Disclosure of Cause of Action:
Non-disclosure of cause of action occurs when a plaintiff fails to adequately
present the essential facts and circumstances that give rise to the claim. In
the case at hand, the respondent contends that the appellants did not have a
cause of action for trademark infringement at the time of filing the suit since
their device/logo "1RM Fitness" was not registered as a trademark on the date of
institution of the suit, which was 25th September 2020. As per the respondent's
argument, the cause of action did not exist on the specified date, and thus, the
plaint should be rejected under Order 7, Rule 11 of the C.P.C.
Defective Cause of Action:
On the other hand, defective cause of action pertains to a situation where the
cause of action exists but is improperly presented or formulated by the
plaintiff. The appellants argued that a typographical error occurred in para 18
of the plaint, which was meant to state the date when the cause of action first
arose to file the suit.
They contend that the omission of this date should not result in the rejection
of the plaint, as the defective cause of action should be decided during the
trial and not at the stage of plaint scrutiny.
The crucial issue in this case is whether the typographical error regarding the
date of the cause of action should be accepted by the court. The respondent
contends that such an admission cannot be allowed to mitigate the absence of
trademark registration at the time of filing the suit. According to their
argument, the error is not merely a minor mistake but rather indicative of the
appellants' lack of due diligence and failure to comply with mandatory
requirements for initiating a trademark infringement claim.
The respondent further emphasizes that the cause of action for trademark
infringement arises from the existence of a registered trademark. Since the
appellants did not possess a registered trademark at the time of filing the
suit, there was no question of infringement, as the trademark was not
statutorily recognized. The registration of the trademark on 17th March 2021,
long after the suit was filed, is seen as a clear indication of the appellants'
failure to adhere to the statutory requirement, further supporting the
contention that the cause of action was lacking.
The Courr observed that the appellants admitted to a typographical error in
stating the date when the cause of action first arose in their trademark
infringement claim. However, the respondent argues that this admission cannot be
accepted to overlook the absence of trademark registration at the time of filing
the suit. Since the trademark was not statutorily recognized due to late
registration on 17th March 2021, the respondent rightly contended that there was
This also highlights the appellants' lack of due diligence and failure to comply
with mandatory requirements regarding keeping the date of the cause of action
empty in that para. This can not be regarded as merely defective casue of
action. In fact this is a case of non disclosure of cause of action. In view of
the above finding the Appeal was rejected.
The Concluding Note:
There is distinction between non-disclosure of cause of action and defective
cause of action is pivotal in determining the fate of the plaint in this
trademark infringement case. The court will have to assess whether the absence
of trademark registration at the time of filing the suit indeed renders the
cause of action non-existent or if it can be categorized as a defect in the
presentation of the cause of action.
The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: 1RM Fitness Equipment Vs Ms. Priyanka Barua
Case No. Interim Application No.1360 of 2023 in First Appeal No. 141 of 2023
Date of Judgement/Order:02.08.2023
Neutral Citation: NA
Name of Hon'ble Court: Bombay High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Prithviraj K Chavan, HJ
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.
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