Vishal Pipes Limited vs Bhavya Pipe Industry on 3 June, 2022


The current case is an appeal against the order dated January 28, 2022, made by the ld. ADJ-03, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi in the suit Vishal Pipes Limited v. Bhavya Pipe Industry, bearing TM 1/2022, which seeks a permanent injunction against copyright infringement and registered trademark infringement as well as relief for passing off, delivery up, rendition of accounts, and other related uses of the trademark “BPI,” which is claimed to be similar to the trademark “VPL INDIA” owned by the appellant/plaintiff.” The Plaintiff’s complaint was that the Ld. ADJ had neglected to designate a Local Commissioner to oversee the seizure of the purportedly infringing items and had declined to issue an ex parte order of injunction.

When the case was brought before the court on March 2, 2022, it was observed that although trademark conflicts are decided by Commercial Courts at the district level, the current ruling was made by the ld. ADJ, who was not recognised as a Commercial Court. When the Court inquired as to why, it was told that the suit’s value was less than Rs. 3,00,000/-. Consequently, the suit was marked to a District Judge in accordance with the pecuniary provisions of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (hereinafter “CCA”), which stipulate that the “specified value” for “commercial disputes” is Rs. 3,00,000/-. This is in accordance with Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (hereinafter “Trademarks Act”), which states that a lawsuit pertaining to trademarks must be filed and heard by a District Court.


In this case, the following question needs to be addressed: should IPR suits filed in District Courts with a value of less than Rs. 3 lakhs be listed before and decided by District Judges (non-Commercial) in a manner consistent with regular civil suits, or by District Judges (Commercial) in accordance with the provisions of the CCA? 

In addition to their oral arguments, the Amicus Curiae and several other attorneys have filed written notes of arguments due to the significance of the matter that the Court is examining. 

II. SUMMISSIONS PRESENTED BY THE LD Counsel FOR THE PLAINTIFF: On behalf of the plaintiff, Mr. S.K. Bansal, LD counsel, delivered comments. Even in front of the District Court, he represented the plaintiff.


In order to establish which venue will have jurisdiction over such instances, the idea that the provisions of the two acts should be construed harmoniously is supported by citing Section 134 of the Trademarks Act and provisions of the Commercial Courts Act. Therefore, it is impossible to ignore the specified value definition.The court stated that the plaintiff is free to choose the forum. However, this right cannot supersede the requirement for fairness. The choice of forum is not unqualified, albeit it could be limited. IPR litigation, according to Justice Pratibha M. Singh, must have a “specified value”; otherwise, the plaintiff’s assessment of the claim is viewed as arbitrary or capricious, and the court should become involved. The Ld. Amicus Curiae filed a written argument in support of the twin test of pecuniary and subject-matter jurisdiction in order to establish the jurisdiction of the Commercial Courts.
The Commercial Courts Act expressly states that District Judges of Commercial Courts have financial jurisdiction over sums exceeding three lakhs. As a result, only District Judges in Commercial Courts may hear suits if their defined worth, post-valuation, is three lakhs or more.
The Honourable Court maintains the following position with regard to the imposition of the Rs. 3 Lakh barrier for “Specified Value” in Commercial Suits: “IPR disputes frequently include trademarks, rights in copyrightable works, patents, designs, and other intangible property. 

• The Court ought to look into the plaint’s accusations and consider the substantive reliefs. Valuation that is whimsical is not accepted.
• A suit needs to be valued appropriately and sensibly. The plaintiff cannot undervalue the relief knowingly or intentionally.

 • The plaintiff must make a sincere attempt to estimate the relief. 

• If the plaintiff provides an arbitrary or unjustified value, the court may reject it and allow the plaintiff to revise it or have the plaint dismissed.
• When there are objective norms of relief value or positive materials, the plaintiff cannot arbitrarily and capriciously select a ludicrous sum for initiating the complaint. The plaintiff must provide specific justification for not knowing the precise amount of the remedy. 


IPR actions should preferably be valued at more than INR 3 lakhs, according to the Delhi High Court, which has looked into the issue of valuation.
The court did, however, also point out that the plaintiff has the right to establish the action’s worth, and it mandated that any suit valued less than INR 3 lakh be listed before the district-level commercial court judge in order to ascertain whether the suit’s value was appropriate. It was also decided that, in order to preserve uniformity, even suits that are accurately assessed at less than INR 3 lakhs shall be subject to the strict regulations of the Commercial Courts Act.

This verdict means that all pending IPR cases worth less than the aforementioned figure will now be heard by the district-level commercial court judge, who will determine whether or not the claims have been priced adequately. The Court further declared that by undervaluing the claim, the parties should not be permitted to evade the provisions of the Commercial Courts Act or to participate in forum shopping or bench hunting.


As a result, any IPR lawsuits brought before District Courts would be heard by the District Judge (Commercial) first. For any IPR litigation worth less than Rs. 3 lakhs, the Commercial Court shall examine the suit valuation and claimed value to ensure that the suit is not arbitrarily or unfairly discounted. If the plaintiff’s complaint is valued less than three lakh rupees, they will have the option to modify their plaint or file a noncommercial case. The suit may be handled by a District Judge (Non-Commercial) in a Civil Court if, in violation of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, the District Judge (Commercial Court) finds that the suit’s worth is less than three lakh rupees. The Honourable Court further stated that disputes that fall short of the Specified Value threshold may still be considered by district judges (commercial courts). However, the provisions of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 would not apply to this type of action.


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