Recently, the Delhi High Court in Bolt Technology OU v. UJoy Technology Private Limited & Anr. held that the institution of pre-litigation mediation required under civil law is not mandatory in cases where urgent interim relief is sought.
The plaintiff had filed a suit seeking permanent injunction restraining the defendants, from passing off of trademark, infringement of copyright, etc. Along with the suit, the plaintiff had filed an application seeking exemption from instituting pre-litigation mediation. The defendants raised an objection, and sought rejection of the suit for non-compliance with the ‘mandatory’ requirement of mediation, as set out in civil law and reiterated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its recent decision in Patil Automation Private Limited & Ors. v. Rakheja Engineers Private Limited [Civil Appeal Nos. 5333-34/2022 decided on August 17, 2022]. The plaintiff, on the other hand, submitted that the Supreme Court had clarified that when urgent relief is being sought, the suit can be filed without resorting to pre-litigation mediation. The plaintiff further submitted that it had attempted to settle the matter amicably by sending the defendants a legal notice. However, the defendants, had dismissed the plaintiff’s suggestion and stated that its legal notice was frivolous.
The Court noted that clearly the defendants were not interested in amicable resolution of the dispute. Moreover, the Court stated that since the plaintiff attempted amicable resolution and sought urgent relief, the suit is maintainable. The Court, importantly, observed that in intellectual property cases, relief of interim injunction, including at the ex-parte and ad-interim stages, is extremely important since such matters not only involve the interest of the parties, but also of consumers. Accordingly, the Court rejected the defendants’ objection and imposed costs. The defendants, thereafter, expressed their willingness to amicably settle the matter. Accordingly, the matter has been referred to mediation, and the Court has stated that if it is not resolved within one week, the plaintiff’s plea for urgent relief would be taken up at the next hearing.
Bolt Technology OU v. UJoy Technology Private Limited & Anr., CS (COMM) 582/2022, Order dt. August 29, 2022, Delhi High Court