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Bombay High Court on November 06, 2019 issued a notice under the oral directions of Hon’ble Justice S.J. Kathawalla, to prevent information leaks in IPR matters. The urgent applications seeking ex-parte orders in Intellectual Property cases are to be heard ‘in-chamber’ to safeguard the sensitive information and to maintain the secrecy.
Ex-parte hearing means the court hears a case without the respondent/defendant being represented on the hearing. Where an Ex- parte order in IP matter has been passed in favour of the plaintiff, the court, in general, appoint a court commissioner and allows the commissioner to conduct a surprise raid on the defendant and seize the alleged counterfeit products/goods. It has been further notified that such matters will not be displayed in the production board of the Court to keep the secrecy of the matter intact. The matters approved by the Court for urgent hearing would be directly called out in the court. This move intends to prevent the alleged infringer from getting any notification when an IPR case is mentioned in the open court and to prevent the frustration of the very purpose of filing such application.
As far as IPR matters are concerned, the moment a defendant gets notice of a suit being filed, the probability of removal or dumping of the counterfeit products in the market also increases to avoid such actions against them. Even the documents in relation to these counterfeit products are generally hidden by the defendant from the spot. Moreover, when the list of cases is uploaded on the website anyone can see the list and oppose certain cases of ex-parte order in IP cases. Therefore, this notice appears to be a need of the hour, considering the rising numbers of IP infringement matters in India.