Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 provides for a consequence of disobedience or breach of injunction granted by a Court having jurisdiction to try the suit. Such a consequence may also include ordering such person to be detained in the civil prison for a term not exceeding three months unless in the meantime the Court directs his release.
In a trademark infringement suit filed by Citigroup Inc. and Citibank, N.A. (“Plaintiffs”), the Delhi High Court vide its orders on September 23, 2013, and November 24, 2014, had passed comprehensive injunction orders against Citicorp Business & Finance Pvt. Ltd. and Citi Enterprises & Traders Pvt. Ltd. (“Defendants”). However, the Defendants haven’t complied with the same which led the Delhi High Court to exercise its powers to attach the bank accounts of defendant-companies as well as that of its Director Mr Dinesh Kumar Patnia on account of non-compliance of the aforesaid injunction orders. The Delhi High Court also ordered the Defendant Companies to transfer the domain name citicorpbiz.com to the plaintiffs and further directed the Registrar of Companies (RoC) to strike off defendant companies from the Register of Companies.
Even after multiple hearings giving sufficient opportunities and more than reasonable time to comply with the binding injunction orders, the Defendant Companies failed to comply with the said orders which compelled the Delhi High Court to hold Mr Dinesh Kumar Patnia and Mrs Renu Patnia, Directors of Defendant Companies, guilty of contempt of Delhi High Court. The Delhi High Court also opined that the intent of the Defendants has been to “mock at the judicial system”.
Keeping in view the contemptuous conduct of the Defendants, the Delhi High Court directed its Director Mr Dinesh Kumar Patnia to be detained in civil imprisonment for fifteen days at Tihar Jail, Delhi in exercise of its powers under Order XXXIX Rule 2A.
The above case is a classic illustration as to how serious the consequences would be, in case of trademark infringement by corporates. The sad part of it is, the Corporates wake up to the call only when the Director is personally made responsible and in fact, a majority of the family-run businesses concentrate on how to ensure protection to the promoters than to the Company. This approach led to shut-down of many companies in the recent past. However, start-ups of the present world have changed the trend as to how businesses are run and started respecting the Intellectual Property Rights of competitors. Trademark is an identity of a business which has its origin in the business itself and any infringement thereof would cause irreparable loss to such business.