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Delhi High Court proposes Rules governing Patent Suits, 2020

October 20, 2020

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi vide its public notice dated October 09, 2020, has notified that the Court is in the process of framing Rules under Section 158 of the Patents Act, 1970[1]. The Court has also released a draft of the proposed “The High Court of Delhi Rules Governing Patent Suits, 2020” and has requested members to provide their comments/suggestions on the same within four weeks, to the Office of the Registrar General of Delhi High Court by e-mail at jrrules.dhc@gov.in.

The High Court of Delhi Rules Governing Patent Suits, 2020

Given the spurt in patent infringement cases in the last few years, the Hon’ble High Court has framed these Rules to mitigate the complexities faced in patent suits and actions. The Rules shall govern the procedure for adjudication of all patent suits in accordance with the provisions under the Patent Act, 1970, and the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) as amended by The Commercial Courts Act, 2015.

The Rules shall govern all patent suits and actions and the procedure set out in these Rules over the Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018, insofar as they are inconsistent with the Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018.

Key highlights of the Draft Rules governing Patent Suits

  • Definitions- The draft Rules render specific definitions of Patent Suits, claim construction briefs, invalidity brief, infringement brief, non- infringement brief, technical primer, damages brief, scientific advisors, and priority patent application.
  • Content of Pleadings- Under Rule 3, the draft enumerates the Content of Pleadings i.e. what all should be mentioned in a plaint, written statement, counterclaims, and replication in a suit for a patent infringement action.
  • Filing of Documents- Rule 4 lists out the various documents to be filed by the parties to a suit along with the plaint, written statement, and counter statements and also any other documents that may be filed by either party to the suit.
  • Hearings- The Draft Rules also delineate provisions pertaining to the hearing of patent suits and also about first, second, and third case management hearing. These stages of hearings enumerate the course of action which the Court may take while hearing patent suits.
  • Constitution of Confidentiality club– The Rules provide for the constitution of confidentiality club by the Court for the preservation of confidential information between the parties.
  • Compulsory mediation- The Court may at any stage of the suit appoint a mediator if it is of the opinion that the parties to the suit shall explore settlement through mediation
  • Scientific Advisors Panel­- shall be drawn up by The Delhi High Court to assist judges while deciding patent suits.
  • Hot–tubbing- The Rules propose a hot-tubbing methoda modern method adopted to record evidence during the Second Case Management Hearing.
  • Audio/Video recording of evidence has been permitted. Special permission to allow video recording of evidence.
  • Independent Technical Experts could be chosen from each side and be directed to be present for the final hearing to assist the Court.

The Delhi High Court has formulated the Draft Rules in a manner that it helps in eliminating the various complexities that are faced by the Hon’ble Court while adjudicating patent suits. The Rules briefly provide for all the necessary elements i.e. the content and documents that are to be included in plaints, written statements, and counterclaims. The stage of hearing has also been bifurcated and the suggested course of action for each stage of hearing has been illustrated. If the Rules are followed by parties to patent suits in true letter and spirit, then it is expected that the same may result in the timely disposal of patent infringement cases in India.

Please note that comments and suggestions to the proposed High Court of Delhi Rules Governing Patent Suits, 2020 can be sent by November 06, 2020 at jrrules.dhc@gov.in

[1] http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/writereaddata/Upload/PublicNotices/PublicNotice_G3SK9Q0PX99.PDF

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