Trademark Suit can be filed at the Principal Place of Business: Bombay High Court

Posted On - 22 April, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


In a recent legal case, Prince Pipes and Fittings Ltd. v. Shree Sai Plast Pvt. Ltd., the Bombay High Court tackled jurisdictional complexities in trademark infringement disputes. The Applicant (Shree Sai Plast Pvt. Ltd) pushed for dismissal, citing differences between the Plaintiff’s registered office in Goa and its main business hub in Mumbai. However, the Plaintiff contended that Mumbai was its primary business location. The Court clarified that under Section 134(2) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, suits can be filed where the Plaintiff resides or conducts business, dismissing the applicant’s objection. Despite an interim application seeking the return of the suit under Order VII Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the Court proceeded under Rule 283, akin to Rule 10. Ultimately, the Court upheld Mumbai’s jurisdiction due to the Plaintiff’s principal place of business.

Arguments of the Parties

Applicant’s Contentions

  • It was argued that Section 134(2) of the TM Act and Section 62(2) of the Copyright Act, 1957 should be compared against Section 20 of the CPC and emphasized that the Plaintiff has its registered office in Goa but conducts business in Mumbai, while the Defendant is situated in Patna as a Company incorporated in Bihar.
  • It was contended that the Suit should have been filed either at the place where the registered office of Plaintiff is located (Goa) or where Defendant conducts business (Patna).

The Defendant’s/Original Plaintiff’s Contentions

  • Plaintiff argued against the Defendant’s assumption that the principal place of business is synonymous with the registered office. it opposed the reliance on the decision in the Manugraph case by asserting that the principal place of business differs from the registered office.
  • According to Plaintiff, while its registered office is in Goa, its principal place of business is clearly stated to be in Mumbai and to support this contention, reliance was placed upon the decision of the Calcutta High Court in the case of India Glycols Ltd & Ant. vs. Commissioner of Income Tax[1], underscoring that the principal place of business may or may not be the registered place of business.

The Court’s Decision

  • The Court examined Section 134 of the TM Act and Section 20 of CPC. Further, Section 62 of the Copyright Act, 1957 was noted to be similar to Section 134 of the TM Act, providing an additional forum for filing suits related to copyright infringement.
  • The Court observed that Section 134(2) of the TM Act offers an additional forum, allowing Plaintiffs to file suits where they reside, carry on business, or work for gain, regardless of the Defendant’s location or the cause of action. Despite the provision’s use of “notwithstanding anything” to the contrary in the CPC, Section 20 still applies, but Section 134(2) provides an additional option for Plaintiffs.
  • Therefore, the Court dismissed Defendant’s objection and affirmed that since the Plaintiff’s principal place of business is in Mumbai, the defendant’s application lacked merit and was dismissed.


This case underscores the criticality of correctly identifying a Plaintiff’s principal place of business in trademark infringement suits. The Court’s scrutiny of jurisdictional complexities vis-à-vis Section 134(2) of the TM Act elucidates the legislative intent to provide flexibility to Plaintiffs while curbing forum shopping abuses. However, it also highlights the necessity of exercising this flexibility judiciously, aligning with the principles of equity and fairness. The Court’s cautious approach in dismissing the defendant’s objection underscores the importance of ensuring a genuine connection between the chosen forum and the parties involved, thereby upholding the integrity of the legal process. This decision serves as a guiding precedent for future cases, emphasizing the need for a balanced interpretation of jurisdictional provisions to prevent their misuse while facilitating efficient dispute resolution

[1] India Glycols Ltd & Ant. vs. Commissioner of Income Tax, (2005) 196 CTR (CAL) 191.