Of Public Rights
Explanation & Origin
Publici juris means a right of public. When a right belongs to the public it is called publici juris. Publici juris refers to common resources. It also means belonging to the public : subject to a right of the public to enjoy.
“Publici juris” is a Latin word, and in the legal parlance, means, “of public right.” The term signifies a thing or a right that is open and exercisable by all persons. It designates things that belong to the entire community, and not to any private party.
Water is public juris no private person can claim it for themselves.
In the case of K.R. Jadayappa Mudaliar Trading vs K.B. Venkatachalam Trading it was observed that the petitioner, the respondent had also filed, before the District Court, North Arcot at Vellore against both the petitioners herein. However in O.S.No.16 of 1987 the respondent made both the petitioners as defendants. His complaint was that the first petitioner was committing infringement and passing off by the use of the “Standing Stag” and the second petitioner is committing infringement and passing off with respect to “Running Deer” vis-a-vis respondent’s registered Trade Mark of “National Park.” The second petitioner filed written statement in the said suit and urged that the registered Trade Mark “National Park” having been used continuously since 1979 for about 10 years by several other manufacturers with the permission of the respondent, the mark has lost its distinctiveness and has “become publici juris, Consequently the plaintiff/respondent herein has lost his exclusive right with respect to the mark “National Park”. The petitioners, who are aggrieved persons under the Act entitled to file this petition as they are in the same trade and filed the present petition alleging that the respondent is guilty of trafficking in trade mark which is not “permissible under the Act.
In the case of The Andhra Perfumery Works Joint vs Karupakula Suryanarayaniah it was held that then the question is, has it become publici juris? And there is no doubt, I think, that a word which was originally a trade mark, to the exclusive use of which a particular trader, or his successors in trade, may have been entitled, may subsequently become publici juris, as in the case which has been cited of Harvey’s Sauce. It was admitted that, although that originally had been the name of a sauce made by a particular individual, it had become publici juris, and that all the world were entitled to call the sauce they made Harvey’s sauce if they pleased. Then what is the test by which a decision is to be arrived at whether a word which was originally a trade mark has become publici juris? I think the test must be, whether the use of it by other persons is still calculated to deceive the public, whether it may still have the effect of inducing the public to buy goods not made by the original owner of the trade mark as if they were his goods. If the mark has come to be so public and in such universal use that that nobody can be deceived by the use of it, and can be induced from the use of it to believe that he is buying the goods of the original trader, it appears to me, however hard to some extent it may appear on the trader, yet practically, as the right to a trade mark is simply a right to prevent the trader from being cheated by other persons’ goods being sold as his goods through the fraudulent use of the trade mark, the right to the trade mark must be gone.” Some refinement may be necessary, for what the learned Judge stated was, no doubt, a vital part of the test of publici juris; but it is not the entire test.
In the case of Ram Rakhpal vs Amrit Dhara Pharmacy And Ors it was observed that They have direct reference to the character or quality of the medicine, are laudatory and are not a distinctive mark, inasmuch as they have not been adapted to distinguish the defendants’ medicine from similar medicines manufactured by others. The trade mark consists of words, the use of which is likely to deceive or to cause confusion and is contrary to the law contained in Section 6 of the Act. The words are publici juris and their use is disentitled to protection in a court of justice. The main constituents or the medicine Ammitdhara, pepermint, campher and thymol, are known to a large number of people in the country and the prescription is mentioned in a number of Ayurvedic books. The name Amritdhara is the commonly used and accepted name of a single chemical compound, but the chemical or technical name of the compound is not known.
Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
 (1990) 2 MLJ 423
 AIR 1969 Mad 126
 AIR 1957 All 683