Guidelines are being enumerated which the Court may take into consideration on the question of appointment of a Local Commissioner in software infringement and piracy matters:-
(i) The object of appointment of a Local Commissioner in software piracy matters is not, as much to collect evidence but to preserve and protect the infringing evidence. The pirated software or incriminating evidence can only be obtained from the premises of the opposite party alone and in the absence of an ex parte appointment of a Local Commissioner there is likelihood that such evidence may be lost, removed or destroyed;
(ii) Request for ex parte appointment of a Local Commissioner in such matters is usual and in fact is intended to sub serve the ends of justice as it is imperative to have an element of surprise so that the actual position is not altered;
(iii) The test of reasonable and credible information regarding the existence of pirated software or incriminating evidence should not be subjected to strict proof or the requirement to demonstrate or produce part of the pirated software/incriminating evidence at the initial stage itself. It has to be tested on the touchstone of pragmatism and the natural and normal course of conduct and practice in trade.
(iv) It may not always be possible for a plaintiff to obtain any admission by employing decoy customers and gaining access to the defendant's premises. Any such attempt also inheres in it the possibility of dis-appearance of the pirated software/incriminating evidence in case the decoy customers is exposed. Accordingly, visit by decoy customer or investigator is not to be insisted upon as pre condition. A report of private Investigator need not be dis-regarded or rejected simply because of his engagement by the plaintiff. The information provided by the private Investigator should receive objective evaluation.
(v) In cases where certain and definite information with regard to the existence of pirated software or incriminating evidence is not available or where the Court may nurture some element of doubt, it may consider asking the plaintiff to deposit cost in Court so that in case pirated software or incriminating evidence is not found then the defendant can be suitably compensated for the obtrusion in his work or privacy.