In the Indian legal system, disputes over the protection of intellectual property are progressively getting worse. For a person who created the intellectual property, who must also effectively enforce it, intellectual property protection is only accessible for a short time. There is a need to explore for alternate solutions and procedures for sharing the load of the judiciary due to the excessive delays in the legal system. This is especially important since the party who has been wronged has few legal options, and the sole remedy accessible is the one specified by substantive laws. The use of alternative dispute resolution procedures to uphold intellectual property protection is growing in popularity. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms have the potential to replace more traditional approaches to conflict resolution. ADR provides to resolve any form of dispute, including civil, commercial, industrial, and familial disputes, in which parties are unable to initiate negotiations and come to a resolution. A neutral third person is typically used in ADR to facilitate communication, conflict resolution, and discussion between the parties. It is a technique that helps people and groups to uphold social order, cooperation, and offers the chance to lessen conflict. The majority of civil disagreements are addressed out of court, and the majority of civil cases are concluded without a trial. To assist people, the courts and other organizations provide a number of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures. ADR is typically less formal, more affordable, and takes less time than a trial. The process of resolving conflicts outside of court, such as arbitration, mediation, or negotiation, is known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR processes are typically quicker and less expensive. They are increasingly being used in cases where litigation would normally be necessary, such as publicized labor disputes, divorce proceedings, and personal injury claims. Contrary to confrontational litigation, ADR procedures are frequently collaborative and enable the parties to comprehend each other’s viewpoints, which is one of the main reasons why parties may favor ADR proceedings. ADR also enables the parties to devise more innovative solutions that a court would not be able to enforce under the law. In the context of insurance, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to a variety of diverse methods used by businesses to settle claims and legal disagreements. This line of action is made available to insured clients as a method of remedy when a claim is rejected.
Need for Alternative Dispute Resolution in Intellectual Property Rights
The sign of the rights attached to “intellectual output” serves as the basis for valuing the producers’ intellectual labor. Intellectual property protection offers a guideline to the creator to assert his authority over third parties, who, without his permission, try to utilize the benefits of his effort. If rights cannot be put into effect, their purpose as created is undermined. When their rights are violated, intellectual property owners must act as their own watchdogs and file legal complaints. Although Indian Courts have made great strides toward the establishment of an intellectual property system in India, they may use the resources at their disposal more effectively and properly. The use of alternative conflict resolution is made. Patent law and Copyright matters require specific adjudicating officials who can understand the multidisciplinary character of the subject at hand with sufficient ease. These matters include interaction with science and an understanding of technology. The minimal level of protection provided to the owner of intellectual property rights necessitates the creation of systems for delivering rapid and immediate justice. ADR, with its variety of methodologies, plays a vital role in India in dealing with the problem of cases that are pending in Indian courts. Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms give the Indian judiciary scientifically established tools that aid in lightening the load on the courts. Arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation, and Lok Adalat are just a few of the several techniques of dispute resolution offered by ADR. Negotiation in this context refers to self-counselling between the parties to settle their issue; nevertheless, there is no legal definition of negotiation in India. Articles 14 and 21, which deal with equality before the law and the right to life and personal liberty respectively, are also the foundations of ADR. The goal of ADR is to uphold the preamble-guaranteed social, economic, and political justice as well as the integrity of the society. ADR aspire to equal justice and the free legal assistance stipulated by article 39-A pertaining to the Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP).
Patent Law And Alternative Dispute Resolution
Technology is steered through the legal system through patent law. The largest challenge that the Indian Courts have is in streamlining the trial of the dispute in a cost-effective and timely way since patent disputes require an awareness of technical expertise relevant to the dispute in the issue. The specifics of interim injunctions and the appeals pertaining to such injunctions have been at the center of every disagreement in the area of patent law in India. In actuality, a wide range of nations have accepted the use of arbitration as a model for resolving patent disputes. Arbitration is used as a dispute settlement method under the Patent Act of 1970, specifically in section 103 of the Act. Integration of alternative conflict resolution techniques is more closely the best strategy to ensure fair justice is served in patent infringement lawsuits.
Importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures for Intellectual Property
The creation of alternative dispute resolution procedures is the answer for resolving complaints about the infringement of a property owner’s protected rights. Alternative dispute settlement procedures save time, are effective, and provide the right holder flexibility. It is vital to highlight that alternative dispute resolution has already shown to be more popular than traditional ways of litigation in all business dealings. These days, “arbitration-mediation” clauses are frequently included in contracts relating to the transfer of intellectual property. This emphasizes how important arbitration is in commercial intellectual property deals. The Delhi High Court ordered the adoption of a procedure known as early neutral evaluation in an intellectual property lawsuit in a landmark decision in the case of Bawa Masala Co. v. Bawa Masala Co. Pvt. Ltd. and Anr., where a number of legal disputes had already been settled through an alternate dispute resolution process. Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, which governs this case, was used by the court to make a motion to include such processes for peaceful resolution of conflicts. The Court continued, stating that the early neutral review technique had “the same qualities as a mediation process…the difference is that in mediation, solutions often come from the parties, and the mediator makes an effort.” In contrast, “in case of early neutral evaluation, the evaluator works as a neutral person to examine the strengths and weaknesses of each of the parties to discover the most acceptable solution.” By declaring that early neutral review the Court further distinguished early neutral evaluation from arbitration. Additionally, the Court ruled that an early impartial assessment is “private” and cannot be utilized by one party against the other. No award or result has been submitted. This is a landmark case in which Indian courts attempted to implement alternative dispute resolution tools to address issues with intellectual property violations. This example also demonstrates the propensity that Indian Courts have begun cooperating in the direction of using alternative dispute resolution methods to settle such conflicts.
Trademarks and Alternative Dispute Resolution
In India, trademark litigation dominates the courtroom scene for cases involving intellectual property. An inter-parties ruling will be made in the trademark dispute. In light of this, alternative conflict resolution techniques might undoubtedly provide the judiciary with a suitable option. Furthermore, it is essential to note that arbitration plays a significant part in the expedited process for dispute resolution established by the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, 1999, and the Indian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy in situations of cybersquatting. This highlights the value of arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution procedures in balancing the interests of the party making the complaint and the owner of the trademark.
Various modes of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Arbitration: Without a legally binding arbitration agreement in place before a disagreement arises, the arbitration procedure is impossible. In this method of dispute settlement, the parties designate one or more arbitrators to hear their cases. The arbitrator’s ruling, known as the “Award,” is binding on the parties. Getting a fair settlement of a dispute outside of court without needless expenditure or delay is the goal of arbitration. Any party to a contract that has an arbitration provision may activate it either personally or through their authorized agent, who will then submit the dispute for arbitration in accordance with the terms of the arbitration clause. Here, the term “arbitration clause” refers to a clause that specifies the manner, language, number of arbitrators, and location where the arbitration will actually take place.
Mediation: The goal of mediation, an alternative dispute resolution method, is to help two or more disputants come to a resolution. A third party serves as a mediator in this simple and straightforward party-centred negotiation procedure, which uses effective communication and negotiating skills to settle disputes peacefully. The parties have complete control over this procedure. The sole purpose of the mediator’s role is to assist the parties in resolving their conflict. The mediator does not impose his opinions or determine what a just settlement should be.
Conciliation: Although conciliation is a kind of arbitration, it is less formal. Through the employment of a conciliator who meets with each party separately to resolve the conflict, it is possible to facilitate an amicable conclusion between the parties. Conciliators meet individually with the parties in order to ease tension, improve communication, and interpret the situation in order to facilitate a negotiated settlement. Prior consent is not required, and parties who are not interested in conciliation cannot be forced to participate. In that regard, it differs from arbitration. In reality, the parties cannot reach a conciliation agreement before a conflict has arisen.
Lok Adalat: The Lok Adalat, sometimes known as the “People’s Court,” is presided over by an active or retired judge, a social activist, or a member of the legal profession. Lok Adalats are held on a regular basis for the purpose of exercising this authority by the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) and other Legal Services Institutions. Any disagreement that has not been filed before a court of law or any matter that is already proceeding in a normal court might be referred to Lok Adalat. The process moves quickly since there is no court charge and a strict procedure is followed. The court fee initially paid in the court when the petition was filed is also reimbursed to the parties if any subject currently under consideration in court is referred to the Lok Adalat and resolved later. Parties are interacting directly with the judge, something that is impossible in traditional courts. Whether a matter that has been ongoing in ordinary court for a long time can be moved to Lok Adalat depends on the parties’ agreement. The people making the decisions merely serve as statutory conciliators; they might convince the parties to settle their differences in the Lok Adalat rather than in a court of law. Upon receiving a request from one of the parties at the pre-litigation stage, the Legal Services Authorities (State or District) as the case may be, may refer such matter to the Lok Adalat, for which notice would then be given to the other party. Non-compoundable cases are not subject to the jurisdiction of Lok Adalats.
Conclusion: Statutory rights require a distinct strategy for effective enforcement since they are inherently constrained. According to the jurisprudence surrounding the creation of various quasi-judicial organizations under various intellectual property laws, these entities were established to divide the workload and provide expert evidence in determining the legality of intellectual property. Since intellectual property rights violations are inter parties disputes, alternative dispute resolution procedures can be extremely effectively used to resolve them.
- “Singhania & Partners” (Singhania & Partners, June 22, 2018) <https://singhania.in/blog/alternative-dispute-resolution-and-the-law-of-intellectual-property> accessed January 1, 2023
- Centre VM, “Role of ADR in Intellectual Property Rights | VIA Mediation Centre” (Role of ADR in Intellectual Property Rights | VIA Mediation Centre) <https://viamediationcentre.org/readnews/Mjc1/Role-of-ADR-in-Intellectual-Property-Rights> accessed January 1, 2023
- “Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Law of Intellectual Property – iPleaders” (iPleaders, October 30, 2021) <https://blog.ipleaders.in/alternative-dispute-resolution-and-the-law-of-intellectual-property/> accessed January 1, 2023.
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