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Territorial Jurisdiction in Trademark Suits on the basis of sale at a particular place

The recent case in question involves a plaintiff seeking to stop the use of the trademark "KRANTI KAKA" in connection with betel nuts, filed under the Trademarks Act of 1999 and the Copyright Act of 1957. The territorial jurisdiction of court was invoked on the basis of sale. The defendant, on the other hand, contested the jurisdiction of the court based on the location of their businesses and the alleged infringement within the district. This article provides an analytical overview of the case and discusses the principles surrounding territorial jurisdiction in trademark suits.

Background of the Case:
In this case, the appellant is the plaintiff, and the respondent is the defendant. The crux of the matter revolves around the rejection of the plaintiff's complaint by the Ld. Additional District Judge (A DJ) in Dahod, citing a lack of jurisdiction under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). The lawsuit primarily sought a permanent injunction, profit accounts, and damages against the unauthorized use of the trademark "KRANTI KAKA" in connection with betel nuts.

Key Jurisdictional Disputes:
The central dispute in this case arises from the geographical locations of both the plaintiff and the defendant. Neither party was a resident of Dahod, where the case was filed. The plaintiff conducted their business operations for profit in Surat, while the defendant claimed that submitting invoices from either party did not establish the cause of action.

The Legal Principle:
The court adhered to a well-established legal principle when analyzing the jurisdictional aspect of the case. It stated that the defendant's plea, whether in their written statement or an application under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC, is irrelevant in determining jurisdiction.

The Court's Decision:
Despite the plaintiff residing in Surat and owning a factory in the Surat district, and the defendant conducting business in Moraiya and Ahmedabad while residing in Wadhwan, the suit was filed in Dahod. The plaintiff argued that part of the cause of action arose within the territorial jurisdiction of the Dahod District Court on the basis of sale of product at Dahod.

However, the court found that the defendant did not produce, market, or process betel nuts within the boundaries of the Dahod District Court. The plaintiff relied on invoices allegedly extracted from the Trademark Registry website to establish territorial jurisdiction, but the court dismissed this interpretation, deeming it an abuse of the law.

The Concluding Note:
The case at hand underscores that the mere sale of goods at a particular place, without a substantial connection to the cause of action, cannot be the sole basis for invoking territorial jurisdiction. The court's decision in this matter upholds established legal principles and ensures that trademark suits are filed in relevant and appropriate jurisdictions, preventing potential abuse of the law.

Case Law Discussed:
Case Title:Hasmukhbhai Bhagwanbhai Patel Vs Husenali Anwarali
Date of Judgement:25/09/2023
Case No. R/FIRST APPEAL NO. 2172 of 2023
Neutral Citation No: N. A.
Name of Hon'ble Court: Gujarat High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: J C DoshiH.J.

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

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

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