Weekly Review (14th to 20th September)

Our Highlight of the Week this week is Mathews’ detailed and fascinating post on the PIL filed by Prof. Basheer on Patent Working in India, the third in its series. Having established the factual and theoretical bases for his argument in the previous two posts in the series, he starts of this post by taking forward the argument of the importance of the ‘patent working’ norms. He details the ‘patent working’ scheme as set in the Patents Act, 1970, putting it within the context of their use in legal proceedings, in countering patent trolls, and the necessary limits on the limited monopoly provided by patents in the context of competition law. He then provides his own observations on the issue, pointing out the inefficiencies in the system, or rather, its implementation, as it currently exists, especially in the process of gaining information regarding Form-27 filings.

Our first post of the week was Aparajita’s excellent commentary on the Ooty Varkey Producers Welfare Association’s application for registration of a Geographical Indication for the ‘Ooty Varkey’ biscuits. She details the application itself and the law regarding geographical indications, highlighting the difference it makes if the product in question is natural/agricultural or manufactured, and the impact public perception makes. She then moves on to analysing the second, and rather unique, requirement of GI tags – that all the producers of Ooty Varkey are desirous of obtaining a GI tag, and concludes by questioning whether a GI tag should even so be given, as these biscuits are something a wide variety of producers can make.

This was followed by Gopika’s post on Justice Patel’s delightful judgment in the Faber-Castells v. Cello case, aptly titled ‘Crayon Wars’. She details the arguments of both the parties to the case, and Justice Patel’s take on the same, before moving on to the judgment itself. She provides a detailed account of the examinations conducted by the court in reaching its conclusion, that being that the two products were indistinct in the eyes of their target audience. She concludes on an appreciative note for the quality of Justice Patel’s judgment, which I heartily concur with.

Kiran followed this up with her post looking into the linkage, or lack thereof, between punitive damages and the wealth of the defendant in question in a particular case, in the context of the Honeywell Intl. v. Pravin Thorat case. She points out that the question of award of punitive damages involves the consideration of the misconduct in question ‘shocking the conscience’ and having an element of ‘wilful and wanton disregard’, as such damages are granted only in the rarest of cases. She focuses on why, after the claim has been allowed, the financial status of the defendant must be a crucial consideration in deciding the quantum of punitive damages to be awarded.

This was followed by Swaraj’s short note on the Global Innovation Index, 2015, pointing out that unlike its previous editions, the report does not seem to emphasise much on IPR this year. Finally, Devika rounded up the week with her Blast from the Past profile of Harper Lee, discussing all the IP claims associated with the beloved author and her similarly loved book, ‘To Kill a Mockingbord’.

International Developments

  1. A huge win for fair use came in through the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Lenz v. Universal.
  2. Greece lifts ban on re-export of medicines.
  3. Health advocates press United States on WTO LDC IP Waiver, which the European Commission supports.
  4. Apple wins patent ruling against Samsung.

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