SpicyIP Weekly Review (31 August – 6 September 2015)

spicyip weekly review

Highlight of the Week

Our highlight of the week has to be Shamnad Basheer v. Union of India – the writ petition through which Shamnad seeks to boost enforcement of commercial working disclosures by patentees of their inventions, both by implementing the provisions of the Patents Act as they stand today and by replacing the current Form 27 framework with a more robust and comprehensive mechanism of public disclosure for patent working. Shamnad broke the news of the Delhi HC issuing notice on Tuesday, and Mathews gave us a broad overview of the writ petition in the first of his two posts.

He outlines the large scale non-compliance with disclosure norms in a number of ways, both by patentees and licensees, and highlighted the defective e-filing procedure as necessitating the writ petition. In his second post on the writ petition, Mathews examines the underlying necessity for patent working disclosure norms by interrogating the justifications for intellectual property rights in themselves. His extremely detailed analysis seems to echo Shamnad’s drafting strategy – that public disclosure constitutes an intellectual property duty, an inseparable companion to the monopoly right that patents bring. Thus, sound IP policy entails the enforcement of patent duties as much as it requires the enforcement of patent rights.


In our sole post over the previous week (an uncharacteristically slow week for us), Rajiv compiled a highlight reel of sorts from the IPO’s newly updated guidelines for computer-related inventions. These included the exclusion criteria for mathematical methods, business methods, algorithms and computer programs per se.

I then put up a short post announcing the release of invention disclosures for IIPRD and Khurana & Khurana’s National Patent Drafting Competition, which is open until the 20th of this month with discounted registration for SpicyIP readers.

Spadika covered the ex parte decision of the Delhi HC which held that Ram Gopal Varma’s Aag violated the moral rights over Sholay by distorting and mutilating the original copyrighted work, and since it could not be viewed as an authorised adaptation. The ex parte nature of the order, it would seem, reiterates the indefensibility of the film, rated 2/10 on IMDb.

Kiran then informed us about the inauguration of the Delhi registry-cum-bench of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, on the 31st of August.

Kartik put out a post on the latest instance of the growing “IP censorship” trend – Flipkart’s issuing of a notice to a tech blogger to shut down a customer review website on the ground that he was infringing upon their trademark. The website in question, comparing Flipkart and Amazon, seems to have been unlikely to cause confusion in the minds of anyone bar Flipkart’s legal team. However, the notice was successful in achieving its purpose – shutting down the website without much court action. Kartik notes that such instances of IP owners chilling free speech adverse to their interests are highly problematic, especially in the context of consumers reviewing products or services they’ve purchased legitimately.

International Developments

1. Provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership may make it almost impossible for orphan works to be reproduced freely, according to the Volokh Conspiracy.

2. An original 1890s version of the Happy Birthday song has been found in a filing cabinet at the University of Louisville, casting doubt on the truth behind Warner Bros.’ copyright claims over the song.

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