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Suppression of Fact and Its Ramifications in a Patent Infringement Suit

A patent, being a monopoly right granted by the state, is anchored on the principle that the patentee provides a full and truthful disclosure of the invention in return for exclusive rights. In the backdrop of this framework, the suppression of material facts, especially concerning the status of patent applications filed in foreign jurisdictions, emerges as a pivotal issue warranting rigorous scrutiny.

Relevance of Foreign Patent Application Status:
The status of patent applications in foreign jurisdictions is not merely an administrative detail but can be a decisive factor in assessing the validity and enforceability of a patent. The patent regime across countries operates independently, but the principles of comity and international treaties necessitate that courts consider the status of foreign patents, especially when the same invention is the subject of litigation. A patent application's status, whether it is granted, pending, refused, abandoned, or revoked in a foreign jurisdiction, can influence a court's decision on infringement and validity in the domestic context.

Misrepresenting or suppressing facts about the status of foreign patent applications can distort the judicial evaluation, leading to potential miscarriages of justice. This is particularly true when parties seek injunctive reliefs based on incomplete or misleading information, undermining the integrity of the patent system.

Delhi High Court's Observations and Precedents:
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi's meticulous examination of the plaintiff's allegations in the case at hand underscores the judiciary's commitment to upholding the sanctity of patent rights. The court's observations in paragraph 19 of the plaint elucidate the criticality of full and accurate disclosure. By juxtaposing the status of the suit patent with the foreign counterparts, the court discerned discrepancies that impinged upon the plaintiff's credibility.

The court's reliance on precedents like Aura Synergy India Ltd Vs New Age False Ceiling Co Pvt Ltd [2016:DHC:1109] further approved by DB in [[2016:DHC:7530-DB] signifies a consistent judicial stance on the implications of suppression and misrepresentation in intellectual property disputes. The decisions affirm that any concealment or distortion of material facts can vitiate the plaintiff's claim, particularly when seeking injunctive reliefs.

Implications for the Instant Case:
The Hon'ble Court's decision to decline the interim injunction in the present case is emblematic of its adherence to jurisprudential principles that prioritize transparency, honesty, and fairness. The non-disclosure or misrepresentation concerning the revocation or invalidation of corresponding patents is not merely a procedural lapse but strikes at the core of patent validity.

Moreover, the court's reference to judgments that cast aspersions on the suit patent's validity underscores the multifaceted challenges confronting the plaintiff. In such a milieu, granting an interim injunction would not only prejudice the defendant's rights but also undermine the patent system's credibility.

The concluding Note:
Suppression or misrepresentation of material facts, especially concerning foreign patent applications, can have profound ramifications on the outcome of infringement suits. As custodians of justice, courts must adopt a holistic approach, ensuring that patent litigations are adjudicated upon principles of equity, transparency, and legal integrity.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Freebit As Vs Exotic Mile Private Limited
Date of Judgement/Order:14.12.2023
Case No. CS Comm 884 of 2023
Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:9219
Name of Hon'ble Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Prathiba M Singh, H.J.

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are 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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