CPC Case Brief – Moser Baer v. Philips Electronics (Anti Suit Injunction)

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Facts- The plaintiff (Moser Baer) took patent licensing for manufacturing discs from the defendant (Philips).  The agreement stated that in case of any disputes between the parties with regard to agreement (including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination) it shall be submitted to the competent courts of the Hague, the Netherlands, provided always that, in case Philips is the plaintiff, Philips may at its sole discretion submit any such dispute either to the competent courts in the venue of Licensee’s registered office, or to any of the competent courts in the Territory. Some dispute arose and first, the defendant backed down the defendant filed a suit in Hague against the plaintiff.

Through this application under Order 39 Rules 1 & 2 (Rules for giving Interim Injunctions), the plaintiff is seeking, as an interim injunction, to restrain the defendants from initiating any fresh proceedings against the plaintiff in a foreign court and from continuing with the suit filed by the defendant at The Hague, The Netherlands.

Issue- Whether injunction can be granted keeping in view the facts of the case.

Judgement- It was held that the court granting an anti-suit injunction must otherwise have jurisdiction over the matter. Similarly, the court rejecting a matter on the principle of forum non conveniens, must otherwise also have jurisdiction to entertain the same. It came to be established that present court had no jurisdiction over the matter and moreover The Hague was the court of preferred jurisdiction in respect of the defendant who filed a suit there. Also, there was no essential problem that the anti-suit injunction could be given as plaintiff didn’t establish any reason such as not being able to contest suit in Hague.

The parties may agree to have their disputes resolved by a foreign court which may be a neutral court or a court of choice creating exclusive or non-exclusive jurisdiction in it although such court may not otherwise have jurisdiction. This settled position eliminates any argument that may be advanced claiming that the courts of The Hague, the Netherlands, do not have jurisdiction and the parties could not by agreement confer jurisdiction on it.

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