On August 08, 2016, the Madras High Court ruled in favour of the Defendant, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. by rejecting the plea made by the Plaintiff, M/s Cavinkare Pvt. Ltd. for permanent injunction against the Defendant for the infringement of their patent. In the present matter, the Madras High Court observed that there would be no use of applying Section 105 of the Patents Act, 1970 as no rights can be claimed on a patent whose
term has expired.
The suit was filed by M/s Cavinkare Pvt. Ltd., against Hindustan Unilever Ltd., wherein the Plaintiff pleaded that a permanent injunction be granted restraining the Defendant and their exclusive licensees from in any manner interfering with the plaintiff's legitimate right to make, use or sell the cosmetic composition for lightening skin comprising niacinamide, sunscreen and silicone compounds in India. The Defendants, meanwhile, prayed in their Written Statement that the Hon’ble Court declare that the making, use or sale of the cosmetic composition for lightening skin comprising niacinamide, sunscreen and silicone compounds as disclosed by the plaintiff would not constitute infringement of any of the claims of the Patent No.169917, which had expired in 2009.
The Defendant, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. had earlier instituted a suit against the Plaintiff, but the matter was subsequently settled on July 18, 2000. HUL filed a counter affidavit in this case stating that the patent in question had expired on March 21, 2009 after a period of 20 years, therefore, the injunction that is sought after by the Plaintiff is ill founded, as no person, under the facts and circumstances of this suit, can claim rights from an expired patent and enforce these rights against any other person. The Defendant further stated in their counter affidavit that it is not legally tenable for any party to provide a declaration of non-infringement with regards to an expired patent.