Piyush Subhashbhai Ranipa v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 350
Facts of the case
In a case where the complainant claimed that Mr. Piyush Subhasbhai Ranipa was producing fraudulent and subpar items that were being transported and sold under the brand name of the complainant company, the applicant made an anticipatory bail application before the Bombay High Court. The Jain Irrigation System’s Zonal Manager, the informant, was made aware of a complaint that inferior products were being marketed under their brand.
By going through the inspection of the goods, the informant discovered that some of the products had the mark “Jain HDPE” and a counterfeit Certificate of Manufacturing License stamp. The applicant was charged with violating Sections 418, 465, 482, 483, 485, 486, 488 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 63 of the Copyright Act of 1957, and Section 103 of the Trade Marks Act of 1999 after the informant submitted an F.I.R. The investigation was therefore conducted, and commodities were confiscated.
In this case court needs to determine whether the offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act and Section 103 of the Trademark Act are cognizable and non-bailable.
Contentions by both the Parties
The applicant argued that Schedule I of the CrPC should be applied to the Acts in light of their goals and justifications and that, given the structure of the Acts, the offences covered by them are bailable.
The State of Maharashtra responded that this matter has been resolved and that several courts, including a Division Bench of the Court, have ruled that no bail can be granted for offences carrying a maximum sentence of three years. Respondent’s counsel relied on the case of Ramrao Marotrao Budruk v. The State of Maharashtra and another, which have held that the offenses in which punishment can extend to 3 years are non-bailable.
Analysis of the Judgement
Decriminalizing intellectual property rights violations could harm India’s reputation as a country that promotes and defends these rights on an international level. The ruling of the Bombay High Court provides comfort to intellectual property owners and inspires confidence that blatant violations of those rights will not be tolerated in India.
Because the accused falsely used the informant’s trademark and attempted to sell those products, the court observed that while the infringement of the Copyright Act under Section 63 of the Act is a matter of investigation, the infringement of the Trade Marks Act under Section 103 of the Act by the applicant is a matter of fact. As a result, the accused is also charged under Section 420 read with section 511 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The Court noted that while a term of exactly 3 years may be imposed for offences with a maximum penalty of 3 years, such offences would not be subject to bail. The Court concluded that the violation of Section 63 of the Copyright Act and section 103 of the Trade Mark Act is not bailable. In light of the circumstances, the court denied the applicant’s request for anticipatory bail under Section 103 of the Trade Marks Act.
With the help of this judgement, the judiciary has established a standard for defending the owners’ intellectual property rights by upholding their interests. This ruling may worry proponents of decriminalization because it gives intellectual property owners special treatment so they can defend and enforce their rights. India is required to prevent the willful violation of intellectual property rights because it is a signatory to the TRIPS agreement and a member of the World Trade Organization.