SpicyIP Weekly Review (November 20-26)

This week’s topical highlight doubtless has to be Prashant’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s recent order on the copyrightability of edited judgments.
Prashant commences his analysis by alluding to an article in the Times of India which erroneously describes the order as creating new law. After briefly narrating the factual matrix of the case, Prashant briefly delineates the gravamen of the SC’s holding in the case of Eastern Book Company & others. v. DB Modak & Anr.
Noting how the SC’s order merely reaffirms the principles delineated in Modak, Prashant argues that the article does not accurately capture the full import of the SC’s order.
Finally, he ends by noting that news agencies should avoid any conflict of interest issues by clearly disclosing their association with lawyers who participate in the proceedings that they are reporting about.

The thematic highlight of this week is Inika’s analysis of two orders by the Bombay and Uttarakhand High Courts which shed light on the benefit sharing mechanism statutorily engrafted in the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (“BDA”).
At the outset, Inika succinctly describes the legal framework governing the benefit sharing mechanism under the BDA and the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal.
She first discusses the Bombay High Court order which relates to Rule 17 of the Biological Diversity Rules of 2004. After briefly delineating the arguments of the parties relating to the appropriate jurisdictional forum for challenging the constitutional validity of the Rule, she explains the rationale undergirding the court’s conclusion that the NGT did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the matter.
Thereafter, she delineates the arguments advanced by the parties in the Uttarakhand High Court matter, noting how the court in this case, albeit in a different context, came to the very same conclusion viz. the NGT lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the matter.
Finally, alluding to the issuance of notices by the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board to Baba Ramdev’s company urging them to comply with the benefit sharing provisions under the BDA, she situates this development within the broader context of lackluster compliance of large businesses with benefit sharing provisions and hopes that this development will result in the reversal of this trend.

In this week’s first post, I examined the Patent Office’s rejection of the patent application for a prostate cancer drug called Xtandi.
After delineating the 3 principal grounds of opposition that were raised against the patenting of the drug, I briefly delved into the Assistant Controller’s treatment of each of these grounds.
Finally, in order to explain the full import of this development, I contrasted it with the grant of a patent to Gilead for Sovaldi earlier this year, based on tenuous legal reasoning, and referred to attempts by American senators, led by Bernie Sanders, to get Xtandi’s patent revoked in the United States.

Next, Pankhuri informed us that the Max Planck Society is looking for an office manager for its India office. Those who are interested in applying for this position should note that the application window closes on the 30th of November.

In this week’s final post, Pankhuri shared with us an update relating to the release of Justice Prabha Srideven’s book, Of Vineyard Equality. Readers interested in the book can buy it here.

International developments:

1. According to a WIPO report, China received more than 1 million patent applications last year, making it the first country to have received so many applications within a year.
2. Apple has been granted a patent for a folding iPhone consisting of an OLED screen and a folding hinge.
3. Refusing to dismiss the copyright suit relating to the famous civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome”, a U.S. District Court judge has ordered that the suit should move to trial.
4. Iceland has urged the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office to invalidate the trademark registration granted to Iceland Foods, a British supermarket chain.
5. Instagram has opposed Microsoft’s trademark registration application for Actiongram, claiming that it enjoys legal monopoly over the suffix ‘gram’.


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