DELHI HIGH COURT ALLOWS DAMAGES TO GLOBAL SOFTWARE COMPANIES FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

The Delhi High Court has recently passed a Judgment dated 26-05-2020 in Microsoft Corporation and Others vs Satveer Gaur and Anr, where the #Court held the Defendants liable for #copyrightinfringement of the Plaintiff’s #softwares.

In the present case, #Microsoft Corporation, USA, Microsoft Corporation Pvt Ltd, India, #Adobe Systems, USA, #Quest Software Inc, USA (Plaintiffs) had filed a suit in the Delhi High Court seeking permanent #injunction, thereby, restraining the Defendants and their officers, employees, etc from use, reproduction and distribution of #pirated/counterfeit/unlicensed softwares of the Plaintiffs; to hand over such pirated software to the Plaintiffs; to return the unfair and illegal profits generated with unauthorised and unlicensed use of Plaintiff’s software; and to allow damages and costs to the Plaintiffs.

The Delhi High Court made the following observations in this case:

1- That the Plaintiffs are renowned and well-established global software companies that enable the users to purchase license to their softwares and use it in an efficient and effective manner. Their business is spread across various continents and they generate high global #revenues.

2- The Plaintiff’s softwares are protected under the Copyright Act 1957 (the Act) and thus, the owners of these softwares have exclusive right to the softwares and the income generated thereof.

3- That the Defendants are engaged in the business of reproducing or burning the Plaintiff’s software in compact discs (CDs) hard disks, etc; installation and operation of pirated software in computer systems; and reproducing the Plaintiff’s software in such a manner that purchasers believe that it is a genuine software.

4- That certain #investigators and the Local #Commissioner appointed by the Court conducted investigation at the Defendant’s place of business. Their report stated that the Defendants could not produce any license, invoice, or any other document to show the legal and authorised use of the Plaintiff’s software. Thus, the Local Commissioner seized around 51 computers containing the infringed software.

5- That the unauthorised use of Plaintiff’s softwares by the Defendants has caused immense loss to the goodwill, reputation and business of the Plaintiffs and has further caused infringement of Copyright of the Plaintiffs.

Thus, the Court passed an Order of Permanent Injunction to restrain the Defendants, their directors, officers, employees, agents, etc from directly or indirectly engaging in any kind of computer related activities; using, reproducing and distributing pirated/unlicensed/unauthorised softwares of the Plaintiffs, and/or any other activity infringing the Copyright of the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs were also handed over the seized goods for destruction within 2 months from the date of this Judgment. Further, the Court allowed damages of Rs. 30 Lakhs to be equally shared by and between the Plaintiffs.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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