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The Delhi High Court recently granted over Rs 96 lakh in damages to helmet manufacturer Steelbird Hi-Tech India in a design infringement suit against Asia Fibre Glass Products. (Steelbird Hi-Tech India v. Asia Fibre Glass Products)
The decree was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.
The plaintiff, Steelbird Hi-Tech India, had instituted a suit against the defendant, Asia Fibre Glass Products, Ghaziabad seeking to restrain it from infringing its registered design of the helmet series 'Monarch'. Steelbird also sought action for passing off.
In May 2013, summons/notice were ordered to be issued, but no ex parte relief was granted.
Pursuant to the Court’s order, Steelbird opted to continue the suit only for infringement of design, and the amended plaint was taken on record.
Asia Fibre Glass did not file written statement to the amended plaint.
According to the amended plaint, the plaintiff had found that defendant was manufacturing and selling helmets having an identical design to its own design, which was registered in December 2011.
It was submitted that the plaintiff’s product under the subject design met with substantial success and came to be exclusively identified by members of trade and public.
A bare comparison of the product of the plaintiff with that of the defendant’s would show blatant copying of the subject design, it was pleaded.
The defendant, however, argued that the shape of the helmet was commonplace and derived from a combination of known shapes which were pre-existing on the date of registration of the design.
It was added that the registration of the design was in contravention of Section 19 read with Sections 4 and 6 of the Designs Act, 2000.
The defendant also stated that the suit was filed to arm-twist small time traders in order to eliminate competition. Further, it was contended that no loss of business was shown by the plaintiff.
In January 2019, the plaintiff filed an affidavit by way of examination-in-chief of one of the witnesses and stated that it wanted to examine certain other witnesses too.
At this stage, in October 2019, the counsel for the defendant was discharged upon request. Since then, none appeared for the defendant and the plaintiff closed its ex parte evidence.
After hearing the counsel for the plaintiff and assessing the sale proceeds of the defendant, the Court concluded that on the basis of "ex parte unrebutted evidence", the plaintiff was entitled to Rs 96,08,625 in damages.
While permanently injuncting the defendant from infringing the plaintiff's registered design, the Court also ordered recovery of costs of Rs 3,15,000.
The plaintiff was represented by Diva Arora Menon (Partner) and Mudit Tayal (Associate) of Fidus Law Chambers.
Read the Judgment: