Recently, the Delhi High Court issued a public notice dated December 10, 2021 publishing the final draft of the “Delhi High Court Intellectual Property Rights Division Rules, 2021”. The Delhi High Court issued another notice on the same day publishing the final draft of the “High Court of Delhi Rules Governing Patent Suits, 2021”.
The Hon’ble Court vide the said notices invited comments/suggestions from the members of the bar and other stakeholders in the IP community. Such suggestions are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 17, 2021.
The New Draft Rules for the Intellectual Property Division (IPD) have been finalized after taking into consideration the comments and inputs received on the previous Draft Rules, which were released earlier, on October 10, 2021. (Read: Delhi High Court Proposes Intellectual Property Rights Division Rules, 2021)
The New Rules are a result of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021, and the recommendations made by the committee constituted by the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Hon’ble Court Justice DN Patel. The members of the Committee are the Hon’ble Chief Justice, Hon’ble Justice Pratibha M. Singh and Hon’ble Justice Sanjeev Narula. The Rules will come into force on such date as notified by the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court in the Official Gazette.
The IPD of the Delhi High Court has been established to resolve disputes relating intellectual property rights and to avoid multiplicity of proceedings and the possibility of conflicting decisions with respect to IP-related matters.
Features of the Draft Delhi High Court Intellectual Property Rights Division Rules, 2021
- The New Draft Rules consist of 41 Rules, covering definitions, jurisdiction, procedure for appeals, procedure for writ petitions, recording of evidence, discovery and disclosure, damages, intervention by third parties, guidelines for written submissions and timelines for oral submissions, costs, appeals from orders of the IPD, etc.
- Rule 36 titled ‘Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodations’ has been included in the New Rules. It reads as follows:
“i. All filings before the IPD shall be in a Portable Document Format with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) enabled with image resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi);
- The Court, suo motu or upon a request made by way of application, may issue such direction(s) that it deems necessary for providing reasonable accommodation to such person(s) with a specified disability as recognized under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 for the sole purpose of participating in the proceedings before the IPD.”
Section 2(y) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, defines “reasonable accommodations” to mean “necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments, without imposing a disproportionate or undue burden in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise of rights equally with others.”
Incorporation of Rule 36 is a much appreciated move as it gives importance and consideration to persons with disabilities appearing before the IPD. Such provisions relating to accessibility and reasonable accommodations have been introduced to an IP tribunal for the first time.
- The Chief Justice will notify the benches for IPD from time to time and exclusive IPD benches may also be set up for handling such matters.
- New nomenclature in respect of matters relating to intellectual property rights has been notified. It will come into force with immediate effect.
- The IPD may pass summary judgment, without the requirement of filing a specific application seeking summary judgment on principles akin to those contained in Order XIIIA, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 as applicable to commercial suits under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015.
- The IPD shall have the power and discretion to order the consolidation of proceedings, hearings, and also to order consolidated recording of evidence/ common trial and consolidated adjudication in the event of multiple proceedings relating to the same IPR, regardless of whether the said proceedings are between the same parties or not.
- In all matters filed before the IPD, an advance copy shall be served on the Respondents, including counsels/agents, who may have represented the Respondents before the IPO, or trial court, or authority as the case may be, at the address for service and by email as well at least 48 hours in advance. Parties/counsels/agents/authorities shall be represented on the first date of hearing before the court upon receipt of an advance copy. No further notice is given, the matter may be heard and disposed of on the first day of listing.
- Registered Patent agents, Trademark agents and professionals having knowledge of the subject matter of the dispute shall have a right of audience before the IPD, to assist the Court along with the counsels representing the parties.
High Court of Delhi Rules Governing Patent Suits, 2021
These Rules will govern the procedure for adjudication of all patent suits. The Draft Rules contain 17 Rules which includes provisions relating to definitions, content of pleadings, first hearing of the suit, filing of affidavits of admission/denial and other briefs, second and third case management hearing, mediation, Panel of Scientific Advisors, final hearing, summary adjudication and general clause.
These Draft Rules aim to expedite the disposal of IP disputes by streamlining the practice and procedure at the IPD. These Rules will pave way for efficient working of IPD and early disposal of IP-related disputes.