Ajay Ganesh Ubale & Others Versus Big Synergy Media Limited & Others

The plaintiff was the owner of Indian Patent No. 193801 titled “Apparatus for Playing a Quiz Game” which was granted on 9th October 2000 and valid till 8th October 2020. There are 4 defendants. Defendants 1, 2 & 3 are interrelated and were responsible for the broadcast of the television show, “Kaun Banga Crorepati”. Defendant No. 1 is the producer while 2 & 3 are the persons in charge of the channel, ‘Sony Entertainment Television’ on which the show was aired. Defendant No. 4 is Idea Cellular Ltd. who is one of the sponsors of the game show.

A suit was filed by the plaintiffs in the district court in January 2014. The defendant in response filed a counterclaim for revocation of the patent granted to the plaintiff under Sec. 140 of the Patents Act, 1970 and both of them were transferred to the Delhi High Court. No interim injunction was ordered in the matter. The court noticed that after 2017, the plaintiff’s appearance in the matter had been erratic and that the plaintiff had not appeared for various hearings.

The court examined the patent of the plaintiff titled, “Apparatus for Playing a Quiz Game” for the matter. Further, the court also took under consideration the submission of the defendant that the defendant’s program originated in the USA as “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” in September 1998. After the same, a local version of the program was launched in India with the name, “Kaun Banega Crorepati” which was telecasted on 3rd June 2000.  Thus, the defendants contended that both the aforementioned dates are before the filing of the patent application by the plaintiff and that the patent was not valid as it was a prior publish and a result of anticipation. Further, the defendants contended that Sections 3 (k) and 3 (m) of the Patents At, 1970 also hit the patent.

The plaintiff’s contention against the counterclaim was that the patent invention is based on the telecast of the game shows. The plaintiff further contended that the format used in the game show by the defendants before 2005 was different. The infringement began after 200 when the Ghar Baithe Jeeto Jackpot was introduced as a format in the game show. Thus, it was disputed by the plaintiff that there was prior publication.

The court pursued the pleading as well as patent specifications and came to the conclusion that there was no infringement of the plaintiff’s patent on the defendant’s part. The court further held that plaintiff’s patent was clearly published earlier. The plaintiff further showed no interest in the proceedings by not making an appearance. The court also took under consideration the fact that the program of the defendant aired for almost 18 years in India. Taking under consideration all these factors, the Indian Patent No. 193801 of the plaintiff was revoked, thus allowing the counterclaim.

Author: Maahi Mayuri, BBA LLB, New Law College, Pune, Intern at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at Niharika Sanadhya

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