M/s. Jagdamba Impex v. Tristar Products Pvt. Ltd.;
05.05.2014; FAO 128 and 129 of 2014 before the Delhi High Court
Plaintiff developed a teeth cutting machine. The machine was based on Industrial Drawing and the Plaintiff was the owner of the said artistic work.
The Plaintiff was making commercial use of the said drawings by making a three dimensional machine which was being used to manufacture combs since 2009.
Defendant was using an identical machine, for manufacturing and selling combs.
The District Court allowed the application of the Plaintiff for interim injunction holding Plaintiff’s drawings of the machine and it’s components having Copyright. Against the said order the Defendant had filed the present appeal before the Delhi High Court.
The Court allowed the appeal by relying on the definitions of ‘Design’ and ‘artistic work’ as well as Section 15 of the Copyright Act, 1957.
The Court observed that Copyright will ceases as soon as article is produced more than 50 times by an industrial process by application of the drawing.
The Court held that it is not disputed that more than 50 combs have been manufactured by the Respondent by applying the drawing by industrial process and consequently no rights can be claimed with respect to the drawing under the Copyright Act, 1957.
Author’s Comments – We at Indian Case Laws, differ with the present ruling. The ruling uses/relies on the terms/expressions ‘industrial application’ of the drawings and more than 50 copies/articles, to deny the protection to the Plaintiff. This ruling does not take into account the fact that the industrial application of the drawings means that the three dimensional article (the machine) from the drawings has to be reproduced more then 50 times and not the resultant product, i.e. combs. If the Plaintiff would have had 51 machines, then the present approach is correct as the protection is sought on the drawings of the machine and not on the drawing/design of combs. As per our opinion, the judgment is liable to be set aside.
A Clear reading of Section 15(2) of the Copyright Act, 1957 makes it clear that the article to which the design is applied has to be reproduced more than 50 times so as to be ousted from Copyright protection. The machine has nor been produced more then 50 times but still the Court has denied any protection. This is like Irrfan Khan’s ‘Mano Ya Na Mano’.