Delhi High Court penalizes steel rolled products manufacturing unit for non-prosecution of 15-year-old case
Directs it to pay Rs.10 lakh within eight weeks
The Delhi High Court has imposed a penalty on a manufacturing company for not pursuing its trademark infringement suit for over eight years.
In the Rana Steels vs. Ran India Steels Pvt. Ltd case, Justice Prathiba M Singh noted that the suit was last listed in 2015 before the Court and, thereafter, it was listed only before the Joint Registrar.
Observing that the suit was over 15 years old and substantive issues had already been settled between the parties, the Bench stated that there was no reason for the plaintiff Rana Steels to keep the matter pending after a Division Bench’s 2012 order.
While considering that it was a commercial trademark dispute, substantial time, manpower, and costs were incurred by the defendant, and substantial judicial time was expended for 15 years, out of which more than 10 years elapsed since the passing of the order, costs ought to be paid, the Court held.
Accordingly, Justice Singh ordered the plaintiff to pay Rs.10 lakh out of which Rs.5 lakh would go to the defendant Ran India Steels and Rs.5 lakh were to be deposited with the Delhi High Court Legal Service Committee.
In the suit filed in 2007, Rana Steels was granted an ex parte injunction against Ran India over the use of the mark ‘Rana’. Both companies were manufacturing steel-rolled products.
During an appeal before the division Bench, the companies agreed that Ran India could sell its products under ‘RanIndia’. However, Rana Steels later accused Ran India of selling steel stock weighing approximately 3,000 MT under the mark ‘Rana Tor’. The matter was then left to be considered by the single-judge Bench.
However, the Court said that the matter had remained pending before the Joint Registrar and the plaintiff also did not pursue its suit for damages or any other relief.
On 20 September, Advocate Pankaj Kumar, the Counsel representing Rana Steels sought discharge from the case on grounds of not receiving instructions from his client.
At this, the Judge noted there was no other counsel appearing for the plaintiff and even the authorized signatory was not present.
Thus, Justice Singh held, “In this background, the Court does not deem it necessary to keep the suit pending. The plaintiff does not appear to have any interest in pursuing the suit, as it has not given instructions to the ld. counsel.”
While dismissing the suit, the Bench directed that the penalty be paid by the plaintiff within eight weeks. It added that the defendant and the Delhi High Court Legal Service Committee could take necessary action to recover the costs, including by filing proceedings against the promoters/officials of Rana Steels.
Advocate Bhuvneshwar Tyagi represented the defendant Ran India Steels.