Punitive Power: Indian courts finally begin awarding punitive damages in IP cases

The dearth of respect for intellectual property rights in developing countries is legendary, even among the emerging economic powers. It's only recently, for example, that China and Russia have demonstrated a meaningful responsiveness to the problem of enforcement.

But India--a common-law country with a modern legal system that has strong roots in the British tradition--has proved the exception. Since 2005, the Delhi High Court, the country's most influential court of first instance, has begun awarding punitive and exemplary damages in IP cases.

The court said the time had come for granting punitive and exemplary damages in IP matters, and awarded roughly $10,000 in compensatory damages and $12,500 in punitive damages to Time.

"This was the Indian courts' first recognition of the importance of protecting the IP rights of Western countries in particular," says David Wingfield, an international litigation partner at WeirFoulds in Toronto. "And while the actual amounts of the award may seem modest in the U.S. context, they represent a significant deterrent in the context of the domestic Indian economy."


Julius Melnitzer

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.