PRE-LITIGATION MEDIATION IS NOT MANDATORY IN CASES CONCERNING URGENT RELIEF

PRE-LITIGATION MEDIATION IS NOT MANDATORY IN CASES CONCERNING URGENT RELIEF

Bolt Technology (the plaintiff) brought this lawsuit against Ujoy Technology Ltd. (the defendant) in order to restrain the defendant from infringing its intellectual property rights, unfair competition, and other rights. Using the mark “BOLT” in connection with ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery, automobile rentals, e-bike and scooter rentals, and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations/docks worldwide, the plaintiff, an Estonian based company, claims to be the registered owner of the mark. The mark “BOLT” has been registered by the plaintiff in a number of jurisdictions. Plaintiff’s mobile application under the mark ‘BOLT’ is available, both on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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In view of a recent Supreme Court ruling that required the parties to use pre-litigation mediation under Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, the defendants made a preliminary objection and thereby prayed for the rejection of the Plaint. Justice Prathiba M Singh held this while observing that in IP cases, interim injunction relief, is crucially significant because such cases involve not only the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ interests but also the customers/consumers of the products and services in question. According to the Court, the scope of urgent relief that may be needed to be granted varies greatly depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.

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The Bench of Justice Prathiba Singh found that the Section 12A requirements were satisfied in this instance since Plaintiff extended its hand to Defendant for an amicable resolution, when it issued its legal notice. Additionally, it was noted that in their response to the legal notice, the defendants attempted to characterise it as a “frivolous notice,” further asserted that they were being “harassed without verification of facts,” and demanded compensation from the plaintiff of Rs. 5 as well as Rs. 75,000 in legal fees. The court overruled the defendants’ preliminary objection and ruled that the suit could proceed. It also ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiff $10,000. The Court then referred the case to mediation under the aegis of the Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre.

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