Tech Plus Media Private Ltd. v. Jyoti Janda & Ors.

Hariom TiwariCase Summary

Suit claiming copyright infringement of database against former employees

Tech Plus Media Private Ltd. v. Jyoti Janda & Ors.
(2014) 60 PTC 121
In the High Court of Delhi
CS(OS) 119/2010 & I.A. 920/2010
Before Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw
Decided on September 29, 2014

Relevancy of the case: Suit claiming copyright infringement of database against former employees

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 79)
  • the Indian Contract Act, 1872 (Section 27)
  • The Copyright Act, 1957 (Section 2(d), 2(o), 17)
  • The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Order VII, XV))

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The plaintiff filed a suit for copyright infringement. They are a publication house for information technology and have a print media publication “IT Price Var” and an online news portal called “ITVARNEWS.NET”
  • The plaintiff alleged that their databases, which consisted of confidential information amounting to trade secrets were used by the defendants (former employees) to create a new website called

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • The petitioner’s counsel argued that the databases of the plaintiff are unique and contains particulars of prospective clients/customers, to whom their news magazine is mailed. The same was being collected much before the defendants joined, so the defendants cannot have any right on the databases.
  • The respondent’s counsel argued that the plaintiff had copied the concept from someone else, and a suit has been filed for the same where the use of “VAR” and “Value Added Reseller” has been restrained. Further, they argued that the information in the databases is openly available on the market. The learned counsel stated that the plaintiff did not disclose who the owner of the copyright is and that as a juristic person, the plaintiff cannot have any right on the database but the defendants as journalists will have the right.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The Court observed that the database consists of e-mail addresses of the visitors to the plaintiff’s website and the same is not shown by the plaintiff as to how it can claim copyright for this collection of names and addresses. Further, the plaintiff has not shown anything to vest the copyright to it, so no issue can be framed on the material proposition of fact or law.
  • Further, the Court stated that the plaintiff, as a juristic person, cannot be the author of a work for which copyright can exist, it has not shown any agreement with the author of the work to vest the copyright to it and the plaintiff has not pleaded material propositions of fact essential to succeed the suit.

Final Decision

  • Suit dismissed.