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The Court Should Not Legislate, But Has To Abide By The Statutory Dictate

The recent abolition of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) and the establishment of the Delhi High Court Intellectual Property Division have given rise to a pressing legal question: Which judicial authority [Hon'ble Single Judge or Hon'ble Division Bench, High Court of Delhi ] should hear writ petitions challenging orders passed by the IPAB before its abolition on April 4, 2021? This complex issue has far-reaching implications and requires a thorough legal analysis.

The Vanishing Jurisdiction Dilemma:
One of the central issues that have emerged in this context is the practicality of remanding cases back to the court when the IPAB, the original adjudicatory body, no longer exists. The Delhi High Court Intellectual Property Division now grapples with the challenge of determining the appropriate judicial authority to handle these cases.

The Judicial Wisdom:
The Hon'ble Single Judge in the Intellectual Property Division of the Delhi High Court has provided an insightful perspective on this matter. The Judge underscores a fundamental principle of the judiciary � the court's role is not to legislate but to adhere to statutory provisions. The court is bound by the statutory dictate, and if the law designates a particular category of matters to be heard by Single Judges, the court must abide by this directive.

Rule 4 of the IPD Rules emerges as a crucial piece of the puzzle when read in conjunction with various clauses in Rule 1. It unequivocally dictates that writ petitions challenging IPAB orders must be heard by Single Judges. These orders fall under the category of "IPR subject matters" as defined in Rule 2(i) of the IPD Rules.

Deciphering the Statutory Framework:
The significance of this legal analysis lies in the clarity of the IPD Rules. These rules provide a structured framework for dealing with intellectual property matters in the post-IPAB era. Writ petitions directed against IPAB orders unmistakably fall within the definition of "original proceedings, appellate, and other proceedings related to IPR subject matter(s) as defined in Rule 2(i)."

Furthermore, the subject matter writ petitions are encompassed within the broader definition of "IPR subject matters or cases or proceedings or disputes" by virtue of the opening words of Rule 2(l). Hence, the conclusion is that such writ petitions are maintainable before the Hon'ble Single Judge of the High Court of Delhi.

The Concluding Note:
In the wake of the IPAB's abolition and the establishment of the Delhi High Court Intellectual Property Division, the jurisdictional dilemma posed by writ petitions challenging IPAB orders has been met with legal wisdom and a strict adherence to the statutory dictate. The Hon'ble Single Judge's stance on this matter is clear: the court's role is not to legislate but to follow the law.

By interpreting Rule 4 of the IPD Rules in conjunction with other relevant clauses, the court has established a robust framework for addressing intellectual property matters post-IPAB. This legal analysis underscores the importance of maintaining legal consistency and adherence to established rules in the evolving landscape of intellectual property rights in India. The clarity of the statutory framework ensures that the law is not only followed but also that justice is served effectively.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Titled: Ayur United Care Vs Union of India
Date of Judgement/Order:16/10/2023
Case No. W.P.(C)-IPD 61/2021
Neutral Citation No: 2023: DHC:7556
Name of Hon'ble Court: High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge: C Hari Shankar, H.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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