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Dabur India Ltd. v. Emami Ltd.

In an interesting development emanating from a recent decision of the Delhi High Court, a Division Bench of the Delhi High court has set aside an injunction order passed by a Single Bench in favour of Emami Ltd., (“Emami”) which had restrained Dabur India Ltd. (“Dabur”) from selling its product with mark and packaging similar to the mark and packaging of Emami’s Navratna Oil.

It was Dabur’s case that the order should be set aside as Dabur was not given any opportunity to file a reply to the injunction application and could not provide factual details which were germane to the lis. The Division Bench agreed with Dabur's argument and observed that the order merited setting aside because Dabur, who had been selling the product for around two (2) months, had not been given an opportunity to oppose the injunction application. The court further stated that Dabur should have been given a chance to file a written reply since it was already using the mark and packaging, and that ends of justice would have been met if Dabur was given such an opportunity.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the present appeal and set aside the ad interim injunction passed by the Single Bench.

The Division Bench’s order has significant implications for future trademark infringement matters in India. Given the authoritative value this order holds, courts will be cautious in deciding interim injunction applications in fresh infringement matters. The Delhi High Court has already begun exercising restraint in granting ad interim injunctions in fresh infringement matters, citing the Division Bench’s order. It is expected that, barring pleas against either counterfeits or blatantly infringing products, the court will refrain from granting ad interim injunctions without providing an opportunity for the other side to file a reply. This order is expected to significantly impact the frequency of ad interim injunction orders in Indian courts, as most intellectual property matters involve urgent reliefs in the form of ad interim injunctions and Anton Piller orders. However, it remains to be seen if the Division Bench will pass clarificatory observations in other matters.

Dabur India Ltd. v. Emami Ltd. {FAO(OS)(COMM) 171/2023, order dt. 21.08.2023}

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