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Civil and Criminal Raids against Counterfeit in India

The infringement of intellectual property rights is considered as tortious invasion of property and it is the principal function of the judiciary to provide legal remedies against infringement of personal and property rights of a person. The judiciary also interprets the IP statutes and judicial precedents for a better understanding, which helps in interpretation of decade old laws according to modern realities.

The IP laws in India give both civil and criminal remedies for IP infringement. Both the remedies are distinct and independent. They can be availed simultaneously. The IP infringement remedies also comprise conducting of civil and criminal raids in India.

IP Infringement or Intellectual Property theft refers to the theft of material that is copyrighted, the theft of trade secrets, and trademark and intellectual property violations. One of the most common consequence of IP theft is counterfeit goods and piracy.

Civil Remedies

The Civil Remedies available to the right holder of IP in the event of IP infringement are issue of injunction to injunct or stop the infringer from infringing the plaintiff’s trademark, issue of anton pillar order which allows the Plaintiff’s counsel toenter the infringer’s premises and seize evidence of infringement, issue of John doe order where infringers are unknown and conducting of civil raids.

Civil Raids- India

Raids are conducted on the premises of the infringer’s factories, manufacturing locations, assembling locations, showrooms, retailers, warehouses, wholesalers and stockists where the infringing or counterfeit goods are stored or found. Raids play an important role in identifying John Doe defendants after the suit has been filed.

Civil raids –by Local Commissioner

To conduct civil raids, a Local Commissioner (LC) is appointed to raid the premises of the infringer and seize and seal the infringing/ counterfeit goods. The Local Commissioner while conducting raid is usually accompanied by a representative of the Plaintiff and may also seek assistance of the local police (if the Court order allows so) to avoid any adverse or hostile situation during the raid.

Civil raids through Local Commissioners are swift actions, and effective in creating a deterrent in the market as the counterfeit goods are seized and sealed.

Criminal Remedies

The Criminal remedies available to the right holder of IP in the event of IP infringement are enumerated under the Trademark Act, 1999 and the Copyright Act, 1957. The Patent Act, 1970 considers acts like falsification in entries in the register or claiming a patent in an unauthorized way, to be punishable as a criminal offence.

Criminal Raids- India

Criminal raids are conducted by the police upon receiving a complaint for trade mark falsification or for copyright. During the criminal raids, the police may allow a representative of the Complainant to accompany with the police to help in identifying the infringing or counterfeit goods.

The Trade Marks Act, 1999 provides for Cognizance of the offence of falsification of a trademark and gives power to the Police for search and seizure of the infringing goods.

Under the Copyright Act, 1957, any police officer, not below the rank of a sub inspector, may, on receipt of a complaint and on satisfaction that the infringement of copyright in any work has been or is likely to be committed, can seize all copies of the work, and all plates used for the purposes of making infringing copies of the work, wherever found without a warrant.

Criminal raids are useful in creating a bigger deterrent in the market as not only are the goods seized, but the direct involvement of the police also adds to the deterrence. However, it may take considerable time from the date of filing the complaint for criminal raids to be actually conducted by the police.

Related Posts

Trademark protection in India- Administrative Remedies

Remedies against Infringement and Passing off of a Trademark in India

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