18 October 2023

‘Appropriate Office’ under Patents Rule 4 is not dispositive of jurisdiction of High Court under Article 226 of Constitution

The Single Judge of the Madras High Court in the case of Adiuvo Diagnostics Private Limited v. Union of India and Ors. [Judgement dated 27 September 2023 in WP(IPD)/23/2023] was adjudicating a writ petition by a pre-grant opponent against a refusal of a pre-grant opposition against a patent application [9067/DELNP/2010], leading to its grant.

The concerned patent application was filed before the Delhi Patent Office, but the Controller who was assigned the matter, right from the stage of examination of the patent application to deciding the grant, was from the Chennai Patent office. The specific issue adjudicated was whether Madras High Court has the jurisdiction to entertain the instant writ petition.

The Court held that the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is not dependent on where the appropriate office is situated. The Court observed that it is nevertheless a relevant factor to be weighed in the balance along with all other relevant considerations.

The Court by relying upon the precedents in Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. v. Union of India, (2004) 6 SCC 254 and Sanjos Jewellers and Others v. Syndicate Bank and Ors., 2007.4.L.W. 473, held that even if a small part of the cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of a High Court, then the said High Court is entitled to exercise jurisdiction.

On the aspect of forum conveniens, the Court held that since most of the critical events relating to the prosecution and adjudication of the application for grant took place in Chennai, the facts necessary to decide the case would be readily and conveniently accessible in Chennai. The Court reasoned that based on the facts of the matter, it cannot be concluded that the Madras High Court is an inconvenient forum for the adjudication of the instant writ petition. The Court thus rejected the challenge to the jurisdiction. 

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