SpicyIP Weekly Review (February 12-18)

The topical highlight for the week, which also happens to be our first post of the week, is Prashant’s incisive analysis of the way in which Indian media has covered Global Intellectual Property Centre’s (“GIPC”) latest international IP index.  Prashant notes how the mainstream media has reproduced the findings of GIPC IP index, including the poor ranking accorded to India in the global IP environment, without critically assessing the methodology or motive behind the same. Prashant concludes by saying that it is high time that the Indian media understood the ways in which IP advocacy worked.

The thematic highlights of the week are Prof. Basheer’s two separate posts, also written against the background of GIPC IP Index. In these insightful posts (see, here and here), Prof. Basheer exhorts the reader to break the mould within which the IP eco-system was conceived and has been discussed from its formation till now. In the first of the two posts, he starts off by re-iterating Prashant’s point about the futility of blinding following an index, which was framed to cater the interests of U.S. industry in the first place. Against this background, Prof. Basheer draws the reader’s attention to a recent article of his in the Hindu in which he points to the importance of re-imagining the IP paradigm, which still lays excessive importance to patent numbers- a highly subjective standard, which might become redundant in the near future with the evolution of Artificial Intelligence. In the second of the two posts, Prof. Basheer invites the reader’s attention to a piece of his in the Seminar in which he explores the importance of non-IP factors in fostering innovation and sets the discussion against the cultural milieu of India.

Mathews brought to us the curious case of artist J.G.S Boggs, who passed away recently. In this post Mathews examines if Mr. Boggs, who created his own currency as works of art and bartered them for goods and services he received, could be said to be in violation of counterfeiting or copyright laws. While the quirky deviations from the originals make the charge of counterfeiting a hard one to sustain, copyright infringement may be a tenable claim, argues Mathews.

We had another stellar post from Prashant, in which he discusses a recent PIL filed against the Bureau of Indian Standards (“BIS”), the standard setting body in India. The PIL has been filed against the policy of BIS, which requires a person to pay a prescribed fee for the purpose of obtaining a copy of the standards set out by BIS. Prashant examines the merits of each of the arguments advanced by the Petitioners in the PIL. While doubting the viability of some of these arguments, Prashant makes it clear that the RTI Act along with the Copyright Act and the BIS Rules provide enough scope to the Petitioners to carve out a winning case.

In the events section, Ritvik announced the ‘SP Sathe 11th Memorial Conference’ on the topic ‘Changing Contours in IP Law’ which is to be held from March 10th to 12th.  The last date for those interested in applying is February 25th.

In another interesting post, we had the present batch of SpicyIP fellows sharing their experience on working with the blog. Narrating the wonderful time they have had during the course of their tenure at the blog, the fellows give a recollection of what makes the experience so truly special. We would like to once again alert our readers that the applications for the SpicyIP Fellowship for 2017-18 are now open and will close on March 10, 2017.

International Developments

  1. Internet Service Provider, Cox Communications, to pay $8.4 million for third party copyright infringement.
  2. European Court of Justice rules in favour of European Union’s power to ratify Marrakesh treaty.
  3. USPTO delivers its verdict in favour of Broad Institute in CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing patent battle.
  4. Google directed to pay $20 million in damages in patent infringement case.


Balu Nair

Balu completed his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) from WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata and LL.M. from Melbourne Law School as an Alex Chernov Scholar. He is currently a Lecturer at Jindal Global Law School and is also Assistant Editor at Indian Law Review. He can be reached at [email protected]

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