SC junks Anchor’s appeal, Delhi court order against Colgate-Palmolive

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Published: November 22, 2019 12:23:08 AM

Senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Anchor, said there were more than one ex-facie grounds to show and establish that the public records had been manipulated to attach a statement of Novelty to the impugned design registration.

The SC bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan also upheld the HC order.The SC bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan also upheld the HC order.

In a major relief to FMCG giant Colgate-Palmolive, the Supreme Court has rejected Anchor Health & Beauty Care’s appeal seeking restoration of its criminal complaint. It also junked a Delhi court order that had summoned the US company brass, including global CEO Ian Cook, COOs Michael J Tangney and Franck J Moison, CFO Stephen C Patrick, and assistant controller of patent and design GP Roy to face the trial in the alleged forgery case.

Anchor had filed a criminal complaint against Colgate and its top officials alleging forgery of a trademark registration certificate related to toothbrush designs. While a Delhi court in 2014 had sought the presence of top officials to face criminal trial, the Delhi High Court on May 30 quashed the complaint, terming it as an “administrative error and nothing else”.

The SC bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan also upheld the HC order.

Challenging the HC’s May 30 order, Anchor alleged that Colgate had tried to “compromise and undermine the sanctity of a registered design by procuring through illegal means a certified copy of registration certificate of a design, which illegally shows a novelty statement attached to it… While the motive of committing such illegal acts is not difficult to imagine as a registered design with enhanced scope would commercially and legally benefits the proprietor, the commission of such act is possible only in connivance and in conspiracy with the officials of the patent office, who are the custodians of the registered designs.”

Senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Anchor, said there were more than one ex-facie grounds to show and establish that the public records had been manipulated to attach a statement of Novelty to the impugned design registration.

However, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and counsel Mahesh Agarwal, appearing for Colgate, opposed Anchor’s appeal, contending that the summoning order was bad in law and misuse of the judicial process. While filing the case before the HC, due to inadvertence, novelty certificate was not attached, though the same was attested.

Colgate further submitted that non-filing of the original document and an administrative error at the Controller’s office for novelty statement being missing in the certified copy ipso facto does not constitute the offence of forgery or any kind of offence because the document in existence is not in dispute as the same is registered with the Controller of Patent & Design, Kolkata.

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