The issue of long and delayed interim orders attracted the Supreme Court’s (SC) attention in a Petition challenging an order passed by the Delhi High Court in march this year (In M/S. INTEX TECHNOLOGIES (INDIA) LTD. & ANR. VERSUS M/S. AZ TECH (INDIA) & ANR).
The Apex Court noticed that the order, despite being an interim order was a decision based on the merits of the case. The respondents had filed the suit seeking a permanent injunction against the appellants restraining them from using the mark “AQUA‟ in respect of mobile phones / cellular phones.
It was held by the court that improper and unexplained delay, particularly in IPR cases is fatal to an application for an interlocutory injunction.
The court notes that the interim order is virtually a decision on merits of the suit. According to the Court this is a disturbing trend which the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court should take note of. The SC has ordered the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court to report total number of pending IPR suits, in the following manner:
- Divided into different categories;
- stage of each suit; and
- the period for which injunction/interim orders held/holding the field in each of the suits.
The Registrar General of the Delhi High Court will also indicate to the Court a reasonable way of ensuring speedy disposal of the suits involving intellectual property rights which are presently pending.