In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court said that additional documents obtained by a contesting party under the Right to Information (RTI) Act can be used during an appeal, even though they were not used at earlier stage.
A division bench of justices BH Marlapalle and UD Salvi recently asked the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) to consider the additional documents sought to be tendered by Sudhir Bhatia Trading as V Bhatia International.
V Bhatia International is engaged in a legal dispute with Midas Hygiene Industries Private Limited over the use of trade name “laxman rekha” for marketing chalk sticks used to get rid of cockroaches and lizards. Bhatia International had approached the Intellectual Property Board challenging registration of “laxman rekha” by Midas International as its trademark.
The board ruled against Bhatia International, which the company challenged before he IPAB. While its appeal was pending, Bhatia International acquired several documents from government departments through RTI and requested the IPAB to use these additional documents.
The IPAB refused to consider additional documents. Bhatia challenged this decision before the high court. Their counsel Shailen Bhatia and advocate Sanjay Ramesh Malhotra & Associates argued that the company did not have the documents when the appeal was filed.
Bhatia International alleged that the documents obtained through the RTI revealed that Midas had concealed particulars and manipulated records.
JP Cama, counsel for Midas, opposed the fresh documents at the appellate stage, saying that they (documents) were irrelevant.