• Smeeta Singh

Lis Pendens literally means ‘litigation pending’ or ‘pending suit’ and is drawn from the concept based on the maxim “Pendente lite nihil innovature” which means that nothing new must be introduced while a litigation or suit is pending.
This Doctrine states that the property which is subject matter of a suit shall not be transferred during pendency of the suit. This Doctrine is essential as it prevents Transfer of the title of any disputed property without the Court’s consent.
In the case of G.T Girish Vs Y. Subba Raju, the Supreme Court has recently delivered a judgment expounding the doctrine of "lis pendens”. The bench of Justice KM Joseph and PS Narasimha stated that the transfer of the property during pendency of the suit is not void or invalid. However, such transfer will be subject to the final outcome of the suit. Moreover, The Court also held that neither the seller can set up plea of final disposition of the property nor the purchaser can take a defence of being a bona fide purchaser/lack of notice against the doctrine of lis pendens.
Lis pendens is not only applicable in the real estate litigation but also applicable in the Intellectual Property Rights cases. A lis pendens is not something often seen in the world of intellectual property law. Nonetheless, grounds can arise for its use in conjunction with cases primarily about intellectual property. Counsel in IP cases may be able to utilize a lis pendens to good effect in certain circumstances against an infringer or wrongdoer even before an IP case is prosecuted through a final judgment.
In case of Hunting World, Incorporated v. Superior Court, The alleged wrongdoer was sued in federal court for selling counterfeit purses, bags, fanny packs, and other goods bearing counterfeit Hunting World trademarks. Shortly after the filing of the lawsuit, the wrongdoer quitclaimed his residence to his wife, which prompted a state court lawsuit by Hunting World to seek to set aside the conveyance. Hunting World also recorded a lis pendens against the property.
The Hunting World case demonstrates that a party can bring to bear the potent remedy of a lis pendens, even when the crux of the matter is about intellectual property and not real property. A party bringing an infringement or other IP case against a wrongdoer should utilize the power of a fraudulent transfer action and a lis pendens where there is evidence that the wrongdoer has sought to shelter real property assets from possible collection in an IP lawsuit.


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