Jurisdictional questions

1) Our software products are delivered either online download or via courier. Wherefrom may the payment is made but delivery of our software is always done from our office in West Bengal. The couriers are send from our office in West Bengal. The servers from which the software is delivered online is also in West Bengal. All our selling is done from West Bengal only. Now complainant is from Delhi. Here the allegation is that our software have stolen data of complainant. Though complainant`s server is in Delhi but there is no evidence which can justify that the alleged data is stolen from complainant`s server from Delhi because there is no electronic or physical link between our software and server with complainant`s server. The evidence that complainant has given is that: a) he has purchased the software by making payment from Delhi. b) after running our software in his computer he found that the data displayed in our software and his made software is same. So he assumed that our software have stolen data from his server. Now the alleged data in question is free of cost publicly available in numerous websites. So it can never be argued that the alleged data is stolen from complainant`s server in Delhi. There is no electronic or physical link between our software and server with complainant`s server. Plus our software are fully made by our company. Moreover complainant has accepted that he has purchased our software by online download from us. As because we provide the download facility from our office in West Bengal so the place of incidence should be considered as West Bengal. In this case where should be the place of incidence? If Delhi then why? If West Bengal then why?

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2 Answer(s)

Mr. Suvash Sikdar, 

In acknowledment of your query, the place where a suit can be filed is determined not just by the place where the responsent( you) rsides or works, but can also be at the place where cause of action has arisen.

In this case, since the complainant made payment from Delhi, i.e. purchased the said software supposedly from Delhi, and subsequently compained that his data was stolen, hence whaever his allegations, wether true or not, give rise to cause of action in the city of delhi. On the othe rhand, West Bengal will also be a valid jurisdiction cause the respondent thats you resides or carries on business there.

However, cause of action is a subject of interpretation and the same is subject to opposition from your end. It will be framed as an issue of Jurisdiction. 

Answered on October 27, 2016.
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Software in India is mostly protected through the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 as it is considered to be a literary work. In India registration of the work is not essential for copyright protection as the author attains protection automatically with the work. Wrongful commercial exploitation of software may be considered as an infringement.

Published works are protected under the copyright work. So even if the software is available on a public domain it does not completely lose its protection and no third party can claim ownership of the said software by replication of the same for commercial use.

However, infringement is considered to take place only if the software in question is a replica of the original software, including the design and mode. Since there are many softwares dealing in the same field, mere similarity cannot be grounds for claiming infringement.

Moreover, it is essential on the part of the complainant to establish that there has been direct copying of the data through definite channels of copy. As stated by you, since there doesn't exist any link or connection between your company and the complainant, considering the similarities as mere co-incidence due the similar field or nature of work, is more probable in your case.

Since the cause of action arose at the West Bengal office, the place of incidence is West Bengal and not Delhi.

Answered on October 28, 2016.
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