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Narendra Hirawat & Co. filed a case against the makers of the upcoming Ram Gopal Varma's directorial ‘Sarkar 3’ for copyright infringement. They initially sought for an ad-interim relief, which was rejected by the Bombay High Court.

In the year 2008, K Sera Sera Productions Ltd. (KSS) and RGV Film Factory Ltd. and Z Picture Company (ZPC), executed an agreement of assignment whereby all intellectual property rights including copyrights concerning the film ‘Sarkar Raj’ were assigned to ZPC.

Another agreement was executed between KSS and Hirawat & Co. (the plaintiff) with respect to the rights of film ‘Sarkar’ and as claimed by the plaintiff all the rights including sequel of the film, were assigned to Hirawat & Co.

Narendra Hirawat & Co. seeked an order of injunction restraining Alumbra Entertainment & Media Pvt. Ltd. (the producers) from releasing the film saying that by producing the film, the rights assigned to the plaintiff were being violated. And that the rights assigned to ZPC were only Intellectual Property Rights pertaining to film ‘Sarkar Raj’ and therefore, the right was restricted in respect of original film and not for the purpose of making sequel.

In order to examine the case, the Court had to ascertain the specific rights of each respective party. The agreement executed in 2008 clearly indicated that the copyrights pertaining to the film ‘Sarkar Raj’ including the trademark title of the film would vest in ZPC alone. It clearly discloses that a right in title, remake/sequel was also assigned to ZPC.

When the Court examined the agreement between KSS and Hirawat & Co. it was observed that they were assigned only the rights of remake of the film ‘Sarkar’ and not its sequel. The word “sequel rights” nowhere appeared in the agreement.

The Court said that the rights prima facie appear to have been assigned to ZPC and therefore it was not possible to accept submissions made by the plaintiff.

The Court also noticed that there was substantial delay in applying to the Court, by the plaintiff, who was well aware that the defendants were producing the film as they had approached the plaintiff in October 2016 to understand the rights which were assigned to them. The Court was not inclined to grant an ad-interim relief particularly, when the film was about to be released in few days.

The appeal was thereby dismissed.