11 January 2019

No summary adjudication of suit requiring expert evidence, at injunction stage

11th January

Setting aside a High Court Division Bench Order, the Supreme Court has remanded a suit back to the Single Judge in a dispute involving alleged infringement of patented technology by use of seeds/hybrid seeds bearing the patented technology.

The Court in this regard observed that defendants counter claim was never considered by the Single Judge, and that the Division Bench ought not to have examined the counter claim itself. It held that summary adjudication of a technically complex suit requiring expert evidence, at the injunction stage, was not desirable or permissible in law.

The patent involved an artificial gene and the process for inserting it into the genome of a plant thus conferring the trait of insect tolerance to the plant.

The Court in Mosanto Technology LLC v. Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd. observed that the defendants themselves had contended in their appeal that the issues were complicated requiring expert evidence to be considered in a full-fledged trial. It noticed that suit involved complicated mixed questions of law and facts about patentability and exclusion of patent which could be examined in the suit on the basis of evidence.

The court was of the view that issues raised were complicated requiring technological and expert evidence about issues of chemical process, biochemical, biotechnical and microbiological processes.

It observed that the question whether the nucleic acid sequence trait once inserted could be removed from that variety and whether the patented DNA sequence was a plant or a part of a plant etc., are all matters which are required to be considered at the final hearing of the suit.

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