SpicyIP Weekly Review (January 15-21)

The topical highlight for this week was surely Rahul’s marvelous post on the judgement in PK Sen v Exxon Mobile. In his post, he notes that in the case herein, the court tested the plaintiff’s assertions as to the court’s jurisdiction based on legal principles, instead of accepting them on face value. This, he remarks, is part of a welcome trend whereby the Delhi High Court is beginning to lose its pro-plaintiff reputation.

The thematic highlight for the week was also Rahul’s insightful post on the possible ramifications of Trump’s selection of Robert Lighthizer as the next USTR. Here, he notes that Lighthizer is a strong proponent of protectionist policies and this might actually be welcome news to India. He concludes that if USA adopts more protectionist policies, it may no longer have the moral authority to use the Section 301 reporting process to coerce India to bring its IP regime in line with global norms.

Pankhuri informed us about the Indian Transparency Competition, 2017 organized by iPleaders. This competition requires the participants to file an RTI with a government department of their choice and submit an article analyzing the data. This competition is open to all citizens to India and offers exciting prizes up for grabs.

In furtherance of our discussion on the discrepancy in the viva scores in the Patent Agent Exam 2016, Pankhuri brought us an opinion poll to get to know our reader’s views on whether or not the viva voce should be part of the patent agent exam. Further, in this post, she announces an excellent internship opportunity being offered at IPM Cell of IIT Madras for aspirants of the next patent agent exam, for which the last date of application is 25th January 2017.

Next, Prashant announced that his book, “Create, Copy Disrupt: India’s Intellectual Property Dilemmas”, co-authored with Sumathi Chandrashekharan has been published by Oxford University Press. He explains that this book was written in an attempt to explain intellectual property to a non-specialist audience in a jargon-free manner. This book is thus aimed to be an introduction to readers interested in the subject of IP in India. He then explains the scheme of the book and also shares a free-ebook compiled by the co-authors while writing this book. This ebook is a compilation of primary source material on Indian IP, such as older versions of statutes, parliamentary debates and reports.

Inika next brought us a wonderfully insightful post on the order in Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd. v Raj Television Network Ltd. issued by the Madras High Court. Here, the court restrained Raj TV from using the sound recordings and images owned by Sony, as well as synchronizing Sony’s underlying musical and literary works with visuals to create cinematographic films. She noted that this order simply consists of the interim injunction passed and does not include the facts of the case, the law relied on or their reasoning for granting the injunction. She further noted that the 2012 amendment may have some significance here insofar as determining the rights of a producer in a cinematographic film.

Next, I wrote a post on the case of AZ Tech (India) v Intex Technologies (India) Ltd., wherein a single bench of the Delhi High Court temporarily injuncted the defendant from using the trademark “Aqua”. In this post, I noted that this well-reasoned judgement was one of the few in India which deal with arbitrary marks and where a smaller player was able to prima facie prove passing off against a much larger company. However, in my next post, I noted that this judgement was soon after stayed by the Division Bench of the High Court in a vague order.

Next, Pankhuri announced that the First Asia-Pacific Workshop on Empirical Methods in Innovation, IP & Competition at NLU-Delhi from March 9th-11th, 2017. The objective of this workshop is to make the target group more critical consumers of data in the fields of innovation, IP and competition. The workshop is open for legal academicians and regulators working with IP and competition law in the Asia-Pacific region. The last date for application is February 1st, 2017.

This week, we also had a wonderful guest post by Rajshree Chandra, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Delhi, on her book “The Cunning of Rights: Law, Life, Biocultures’. In this post, she talks about how her book is a kind of critique of legalized biocultural entitlements. In her book, she sorts these biocultural entitlements into benefits, privileges and rights and discusses the two-facedness of such a regime.  We also called upon our readers to review this book if interested, and we shall be happy to publish it, if it meets our editorial standards.

Pankhuri announced that the First Asia Pacific Colloqium on IP and Competition Law shall take place at NLU Delhi from March 13th-17th, 2017. It is open to legal academicians, early professionals and regulators working on issues of the interface of IP and competition law in the Asia-Pacific region. This colloquium seeks to provide an opportunity to participants to engage in a meaningful study of the contemporary issues relevant in these fields of study. The last date for application is February 1st, 2017.

International Developments

  1. “Axannar”, a Star Trek inspired fan movie finally proceeds after legal battle ends in copyright settlement.
  2. Paul McCartney filed a copyright lawsuit against Sony/ATV over ownership of the several hit songs he wrote with John Lennon as part of the Beatles.
  3. The US Supreme court raised doubts as to the law barring offensive and disparaging trademarks on grounds that it may violate free speech rights.
  4. Microsoft filed a patent aiming to eliminate paper by using e-Ink displays which may be endlessly recycled.
  5. Merck agrees to pay $625 million to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Ono Pharmaceutical Co. as part of settlement over the patent dispute concerning sales of Keytruda cancer drug.


Vasundhara Majithia

Vasundhara Majithia is a fifth year student at National Law University, Jodhpur and a Senior Content Editor at the Journal of Intellectual Property Studies (JIPS). Intellectual property was introduced to her in her third year and she hasn’t quite gotten over it since. Her interests include an eclectic mix of Intellectual Property, Trade laws, Constitutional law, and commercial laws. When not frantically blogging, she can be found nose deep in fiction, researching serial killers, or cooking to escape hostel food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.