SpicyIP Tidbit: Additional Records Allowed Before Framing of the Issues Says the Delhi High Court

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Recently, on 6th March 2023, in Bennett Coleman & Co. vs ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, a case concerning trademark infringement the Delhi High Court allowed the application for placing additional documents on records. But what makes this case worth tidbit-ing is the court’s open remarks and clarifications on adding new documents on record. The Court had stated that the “power … to permit additional documents to be taken on record if a party gives sufficient cause for not filing the said documents along with the plaint.”

The issue arose when the plaintiff filed an application under Order XI Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) for placing additional documents on record. Expectedly, the defendants opposed the application. The plaintiff argued that the filing of additional documents is required to show the contrary stands taken by the defendants in their written statements and in the replies to the examination reports of the Registry. Per the plaintiff, the defendants have regarded concerned trademarks/taglines as descriptive and generic in nature in written statements whereas the same trademarks/taglines were described as distinctive in various replies to the examination reports of the Registry.

The court favoured the plaintiff and allowed the application. The defendants’ argument that the plaintiff should not be allowed to submit certain documents because they were already available during the initial filing was rejected by the court. The rejection rested on the remark that “Even if the said documents were available in public domain at the time of filing of the suit, the need for filing the aforesaid documents arose only on account of the stand taken by the defendants in the written statement.” Another important clarification that the case gives is that the additional documents can be allowed to be taken on record when the issues have not been framed in the suit and the concerned documents are relevant for the adjudication of the case. 

It will be interesting to see how these clarifications can act as cushions for the legal reasoning of future trademark/design cases.

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