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In Conversation With Dhruv Anand, Partner, Anand & Anand

In this interview with BW Legal World's Ashima Ohri, Dhruv shares his journey in law, his thoughts on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021 with the prestigious BW Legal World 40 Under 40 Best Lawyers and Legal Influencers Award and much more.

How and when did you know becoming a lawyer was your life’s true calling? 

I think the realization came only when I was in the 11th grade. I do however feel that subliminally, I always knew that I wanted to and would end up practicing law being exposed to the whole environment quite early on. Being from a family of lawyers, law would always find its way as a discussion topic at the dinner table. What really fascinated me was how enthusiastic my father was to go to Court every morning rearing to implement and execute his previous day’s hard-work. It was inspirational.

Would you please tell us about your specialisation and the array of work you handle at your firm?

I have been working in the litigation department of Anand and Anand since 2007. I handle disputes relating to all forms of Intellectual Property. Apart from contentious work, I have also been engaged in advisory work over the years. Intellectual Property law itself being a specialized subject, there is no particular area that I super-specialize in, but have a penchant for Copyright law. I think that it is the most beautiful subject.

At a later stage when I pursued my Masters in Law from George Washington University, I developed a keen interest towards patent law and am currently engaged in some complicated and high stake patent litigation matters.

Over the years, I have been lucky and privileged to work on some path-breaking cases which have in a way helped shape Intellectual Property jurisprudence in the country for instance:

  • Hamdard v Hussain Dalal – A casewhich dealt with disparagement of a well-known Indian brand in a movie;
  • Jatin Das v UOI  – A landmark case protecting moral rights of an artist under the Copyright Act, 1957;
  • Christian Louboutin v Nakul Bajaj:  A leading case laying down the safeguards that need to be followed by an intermediary to avail the safe harbour provision under the IT Act in cases of Trademark infringement. This case is also the first that deals with theinterface between the ‘safe-harbour provision for Intermediaries’ and Trademark infringement;
  • Christian Louboutin v Pawan Kumar: A landmark decision protecting the RED SOLE A picture containing text

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  • trademark of Christian Louboutin and declaring the same as a well-known trademark;
  • Monsanto v Nuziveedu:This case was the first one wherein the Supreme Court heard a complex patent dispute involving patent eligibility under Section 3(j) of the Patents Act;
  • Pharmacyclics v UOI:In this case the Delhi High Court laid down specific guidelines for the Patent Office to follow to ensure efficient and expeditious disposal of Post grant oppositions;
  • Ericsson v UOI: Represented one of the parties in this writ petition which dealt with the IP Customs Rules. The writ was instrumental in the eventual ouster of patents from the scope of the Rules and Customs authorities cannot now suspend goods based on patent rights;
  • Louis Vuitton v  Manoj Khurana: This case helped lay down an Important principle that a deeming inference shall be made that LV goods are counterfeit, when they are found to be sold outside the authorized distribution channel of LV;
  • DU Photocopy Case – Represented one of the parties in a landmark decision on copyright infringement relating to course packs used in educational institutions, wherein it was held that preparation of course packs and their distribution to the students by educational institutions would not constitute copyright infringement only as long as the inclusion of the works photocopied was justified by the purpose of educational instruction;
  • Tata Sons Ltd. v Greenpeace: This is a seminal case on trademark parodies involving elements of freedom of speech and expression;
  • Enforcing patent rights of pharma and agro majors like Bayer, Eisai, Pharmacyclics, Biogen, Monsanto, etc.

What are your predictions for 2022 in the area/s of specialisation mentioned above? What are some of the upcoming trends of the industry?

I believe that some of the hot issues that are likely to gain further traction are as follows:

  • ‘Discovery’ in Intellectual Property litigation – Although the process of Discovery is available under our laws, it requires refinement;
  • ‘Damages’ and methodology of assessment for the same in Intellectual Property cases – This area is bound to develop since substantial damages are now being sought;
  • Intermediary liability and its various nuances vis-à-vis Intellectual Property – this is already a subject of various court decisions but is likely to be litigated further; and
  • Technologies like AI, Big Data etc. and their interface with Intellectual Property.

One area that I believe has required re-thinking and which will receive significant attention in 2022, is likely to be the Internet. This is more so now because of the unfortunate COVID pandemic which has led more and more people to embrace the Internet for the smallest day-to-day transactions. Although, various efficiencies have emerged, there are also various problems such as, an increase in online counterfeiting and piracy, online scams involving torts such as phishing, spamming, employment scams, fake news, invasion of privacy, etc.

One recent landmark judgement or the best judgment of 2021 that you’d like to share a word about.

There have been a few but one which stands out is the decision of Hon’ble Mr. Justice C. Harishankar in the case of InterDigital v Xiaomi, granting an Anti-Anti-Suit-Injunction order in favour of the Plaintiffs restraining Xiaomi from pursuing or enforcing the anti-suit-injunction that it obtained from a Court in Wuhan, China.

This order directed Xiaomi to indemnify InterDigital with deposit of monies to compensate for any penalties if imposed on InterDigital by the Wuhan Court for deciding to go ahead with its SEP injunction claim in India.

Important aspects of the decision, from a jurisprudential perspective are as follows:

 (a) Rules of thumb devised by the Court to govern ASI (anti-suit injunction) and Anti-enforcement injunctions in future;
 
 (b) Arguably the first AASI (anti-anti-suit injunction) where the foreign ASI proceedings had already wrapped up;
 
 (c) Foreign ASI proceedings cannot divest sovereign, exclusive jurisdiction of Indian Courts;
 
 (d) Mere overlapping issues is not sufficient for ASI; and
 
 (e) Comity is a two way street.

As a new age lawyer, what to your mind is the one thing in the current legal ecosystem at the Bar, Bench, or in the Law Firms that needs our attention.

According to me, the one thing that requires special focus is ‘time management’ in litigation matters. We are all aware of the exploding pendency and arrears of cases whether civil or criminal. The latest figure, I believe is close to four crore cases. Obviously, for people to have trust in the legal system, it is imperative that justice is delivered expeditiously, without any undue delay. For this purpose, there is a collective responsibility on the Bar and the Bench to ensure that cases in Courts are not protracted and mechanisms are evolved to cut short litigation.

There are a series of good practices which have been evolved and adopted by the Courts, especially by the Delhi High Court. There have also been enactment of some revolutionary legislation by the government which has sought to address this problem.

To begin with lawyer’s need to cut short their submissions in Court and having a strict time limit for arguments will greatly help achieve this.

Together – Mediation (parties having settlement oriented approach), Discovery (ascertaining the real issues) and a reasonable likelihood for the grant of high damages (acting as a deterrent to continue unnecessary litigation), will each contribute towards compressing the lifespan of a dispute.

Many Congratulations on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021. What to your mind has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

According to me, to earn the respect of your peers and colleagues, one must lead by example. Hard work is indispensable. It is equally important to have a good relationship with seniors and juniors and have a friendly demeanour. The most important is to never compromise on one’s ethics and values and not deceive the Court in any manner.

As a final note, would you please recommend to our readers your favourite book that left a lasting impression on you. 

There are many books that leave a lasting impression. A book that I read recently was a book by Dr. Mani Bhaumik - Code Name God. This was a fascinating book that makes one re-imagine the act of creation. The message that I took from this book was that there are many things that science cannot explain and that God and Science are not mutually exclusive.


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