SpicyIP Weekly Review (5th-11th May, 2014)

reviewThe SpicyIP Story of the Week is our interview with Manojna Yelluri, founder of IP start-up Artistik License,   a unique platform that seeks to help artists and creators with their needs and queries in navigating the world of Intellectual Property.

The week began with Gopika’s post on 6th May being International Day against DRM. This was followed by my post on Sonu Nigam successfully getting an injunction from the Bombay High Court restraining singer Mika Singh from infringing upon Sonu’s personality rights. Sonu Nigam had contended that the posters advertising the Mirchi Music Awards which contained his photo, were used without his permission. Interestingly, the Court awarded damages along with the injunction, and the damages were donated to charity.

This was followed by Anubha’s post on the Competition Commission of India penalising Google to the tune of 1 crore rupees for not co-operating with the Director General’s investigations. The investigation was regarding complaints from Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity and Trust Society that Google was engaging in discriminatory behaviour by promoting search results of Google+, Google News, etc ahead of other results. Anubha noted that Google’s failure to co-operate could be an attempt to protect crucial business information, in light of widespread fear among enterprises that the CCI will inadequately protect such information.

Following this, Aparajita covered two recent patent decisions where the relief of permanent injunction became infructuous due to the expiration of the impugned patents. In U. Varadaraya Nayak v. SK Anand and in Venkataraman Das v. V.N.S. Innovations, the patentees had not commercially exploited their patents during the subsistence of the patent, but had sued for patent infringement towards the fag end of the patent period. In the context of these cases, Aparajita asks- whether as a policy, should an inventor be allowed to lock up his patent for 20 years on the pretext of inability to commercialize as well as be allowed to prevent others who may be able to commercialize the invention?

Mathews then posted that the Government of India is set to release a Discussion Paper which will invite comments on whether or not the royalty ceiling applicable till 2009 should be re-imposed. In the post, the ideas of royalty payments being a drain on the Indian economy and being a classic case of related party transactions in corporate governance are discussed.

I then covered a Gujarat High Court decision from January 2014 where it was held that the requirement of compulsory registration and lab testing of electronic goods did not amount to a restriction on parallel imports, even though the registration could only be done by the manufacturer himself. I argued that the impugned rules appear divorced from the policy (of consumer protection) that they aimed to perpetuate by disallowing exporters or importers to submit the goods to testing.

SpicyIP Events

The IT Legal Summit, 2014 is set to be held at Taj Vivanta, Bangalore on May 22, 2014.  Several leading IP Practitioners have confirmed their presence at the conference. Click here for information regarding agenda, registration fee, etc.

International Developments

1)      A Federal Appeals Court in the US has held that Oracle is entitled to copyright protection over Java APIs and Google is liable for infringement of the same

2)      The US has expelled 34 Saudi Arabian students from the country because they were found using copyrighted software.

3)      The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to Amazon for photographing people and products against a white background (!!)

4)      Francis Gurry has been appointed for the second term as WIPO Director General. He will hold the post for another 6 years.

5)      The International Trademark Association is currently meeting for the 136th time at the INTA Annual Meeting 2014 in Hong Kong. SpicyIP is a media sponsor for the summit. IPKat has a post covering 11 essential INTA Tidbits.


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Spadika Jayaraj

Spadika is a student of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Apart from Intellectual Property Law, she is also interested in Law and Technology issues.

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