Scroll Top

APPLICATION OF QUIA TIMET ACTION

INTRODUCTION

Quia Timet is a Latin phrase that constitutes that ‘because he fears’, in common laws it is an injunction permitted by the court when a party has apprehension or anticipation of his right will get infringed. It is a principle of granting quick interim reliefs in the form of injunction in patent-related cases. According to a Quia Timet decision on maintainability, this particular action is maintainable if the petitioner’s freedom is in danger or his or her right to conduct any business has been violated under articles 19(1) (g)[1], 21[2], 32[3], and 226[4] of Indian constitution.

An injunction is an acceptable remedy it is a directive issued by a court to a party to restrain an act or incident that has threatened or would threaten to infringe upon the rights of another party. An injunction from the court to act is also a form of an obligatory injunction. The court issues the Quia Timet injunction to prevent an act or event from occurring in the future.

In Mars Incorporated vs Kumar Krishna Mukerjee and Ors, the meaning of Quia Timet action was looked upon that it means “because he suspects or worries.” According to Osborne’s Concise Law Dictionary, it is a judicial proceeding that grants a person an injunction to stop or prevent some threatening act from being conducted that, as if that, would cause him significant harm then for that injury money would not be an acceptable or sufficient remedy.[5]

CONDITIONS REQUIRE TO INVOKE QUIA TIMET ACTION

In P.G. Narayanan v Union of India[6], the court held that Quia Timet Action are writs of prevention which requires to fulfill three criteria: –

  • There should not be any actual present injury
  • There must be apprehension which should be reasonable for future harm or threat of any injury might happen should be there
  • And if relief does not grant, an irreparable injury will occur to the aggrieved party which cannot be compensated by any kind of

 And also in some cases, a Quia timet injunction can only be granted if two conditions are met:

  • If no actual damage has indeed been established, then it is necessary to show that a serious and immediate threat
  • If the irreparable nature of the loss is not established, the court will have no basis upon which to think that delaying the remedy could harm the plaintiff in any

And, damage should be so serious that a person cannot recover it even after getting compensation.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN QUIA TIMET ACTION AND GENERAL WRITS

Quia Timet action is a remedy while writs are the rights of an individual. The court granted Quia Timet action for preventing a person based on his apprehension of future harm or injury. Is not required to occur actual injury or loss for invoking the defense of Quia Timet as the court can grant it only based on apprehension whereas, in the cases of the writs, things are quite different, as in cases of invoking writs there must be any legal or fundamental injury and for that court can grant permanent relief whereas Quia Timet action is only a type of precautionary justice that is preventative and meant to stop expected wrongdoing or predicted mis happenings rather than cure harm or damage that has already been done. If the court is persuaded in such a case, it may intervene by appointing a receiver, mandating the provision of security, issuing an injunction, or taking other corrective action.

PITFALLS OF QUIA TIMET ACTION

Quia Timet injunctions, a common law remedy, and its use in recent instances in countries including Canada, Europe, and India are explored, According to the research, there are no predetermined criteria for issuing these injunctions, which makes them arbitrary and subjective, it is asserted that patent cases are insufficient grounds for granting and approving such proceedings.[7] Especially the Indian courts are still struggling in granting this relief because of the lack of understanding of the standard required for invoking the relief. The restrictions in a Quia Timet action can generally convey a fear of an offense; the only thing that the court can consider is whether this fear is prima facie reasonable enough to consider the complaint, delaying the evaluation of the validity of such a restriction until the trial stage, the actual test would therefore be when the court in charge of such a situation is doubtful about whether there is a chance for the threat to occur, though it is also likely that it won’t.[8] and the Courts frequently give ex-parte interim injunctions even in cases involving process patents, and an application for one may be lodged along with the plaint, Interim ex-parte injunctions for method patents turn out to be quite problematic, this is so that the defendant has the burden of proving that his method is distinct from the protected method under Section 104A of the Patent Act of 1970, as a result, an ex-parte injunction (an injunction against the accused even though he is not present) works against him.[9] And all these situations create barriers to fair trials and restrict the arena of justice.

CONCLUSION

Patil automation v Rakheja Engineers[10], the Supreme Court held that mediation must take place before filing a lawsuit unless the lawsuit calls for immediate temporary relief, the plaintiff’s complaint can be dismissed if it does not adhere to the mediation procedure.

A change to the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 in 2018 made mediation a mandate for the first time. Section 12A[11], which is concerned with pre-litigation mediation and settlement, was introduced by the amendment. The legislature specifically showed that “compulsory mediation before the institution of a suit” was one of its intentions. This clause aims to expedite commercial dispute resolution and relieve courtroom congestion.

Courts always remain skeptical while granting such reliefs as in such cases plaintiff didn’t come to the court with clean hands, as this injunction is given in trademark and patent cases. Before imposing a quia timet injunction, Indian courts have not taken a systematic approach to set the exact criteria for establishing the proof of imminent danger. It has been noted that quia timet actions in India gained attention after interim reliefs were denied based on the application of equitable criteria, such as the presence of irreparable harm or the public interest.

So, from the aforementioned criteria, it may be inferred that there are no well-established rules and provisions for figuring out what constitutes evidence of imminent danger. The courts must establish a uniform standard for identifying imminent threats in the future and limit their usage before they are severely abused. Having stated that, given the novelty of this notion to Indian courts, we cannot ignore the rationality the Courts have up until this point in granting quia timet injunctions.  And as we have heard many times that ‘greater power brings greater responsibility ’that is what the Indian judiciary is supposed to understand for this principle of law.

Author(s) Name:  Nikita Tomar (Nirma University)

References:

[1]Constitution of India 1950, art 19(1)(g)

[2]Constitution of India 1950, art 21

[3]Constitution of India 1950, art 32

[4] Constitution of India 1950, art 226

[5] Mars Incorporated v Kumar Krishna Mukerjee and Ors. (2003) (26) PTC 60 Del

[6] P.G. Narayanan v Union of India (2005) SCC Online Mad 379

[7] A Lath , ‘Analysing the Pitfalls of Indian Patent Injunctions Based on Fear of Infringement’ (2014) 19 Journal of Intellectual Property Rights 253

[8] Bristol Myers Squibb Company v Bhutada and Ors, (2013) MANU/DE/3672/2013

[9]R.K. Choudhry, ‘DHC issues ex-parte injuctions in favor of Symed Labs’ (Spicy IP, 03 July 2012) <https://spicyip.com/2012/07/breaking-news-dhc-issues-ex-parte.html> accessed 30 January 2023

[10]Patil Automation (P) Ltd v Rakheja Engineers (2022) SCC OnLine SC 1028

[11] Commercial Courts Act 2015, s 12A