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SpicyIP Weekly Review (August 7-13)


This week’s thematic highlight is a guest post by Mr. Adarsh Ramanujan, who is an advocate with Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, New Delhi. Adarsh discusses the recent amendment to Implementing Regulations to the European Patent Convention (EPC). The amendment makes plants and animals that are exclusively obtained through an essentially biological process, non-patentable. He notes that although the amendment is significant for the EU, given that prior to the amendment such plants and animals were patentable, this has limited implication for India. He concludes by dwelling on the Indian position on patentability of plants/animals developed through genetic engineering – something he feels is still a question mark under our patent law.

This week’s topical highlights were brought by Inika and Divij, respectively –

Inika updated us about an important case decided by the Delhi High Court last week. Through this case, the Court provided clarity on how to approach the question of “employment” while determining ownership as under section 17 of the Copyright Act. After setting out the unique facts of the case – that involved the plaintiff suing her own husband – Inika notes that this decision makes the question of “employment” u/s 17 dependent on existing terms of employment of the employee. She adds that it also has to be determined if the work was created as part of these terms of employment.

Through his rather popular post (subsequently cross-posted here), Divij reported on the recent John Doe/Ashok Kumar orders passed by the Madras HC, blocking 2650 websites nation-wide. The orders were passed in favour of Prakash Jha Films, in respect of two recent releases: When Harry Met Sejal and Lipstick Under My Burkha. Divij views these orders in the context of some of the frightening tendencies common to these ex-parte injunction orders. Noting the almost casual over breadth of these orders, he argues that it is the larger online community whose interests become collateral damage upon issuance of such orders.

Pankhuri began the week with a call for papers for the Centre for Intellectual Property Rights, Institute of Law, Nirma University, Gujarat. She notes that the institute is inviting articles / research papers, case studies and book reviews on contemporary topics related to intellectual property rights for publication in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law. The deadline for submissions is 31st October, 2017.

Next was Mathews’s post on a recent Delhi High Court decision, directing the payment of compensation amounting to Rs. 5 lakhs in favour of Yahoo Inc. over infringement of their “Yahoo” mark. He dwells on the court’s confirmation of trademark infringement by the defendants – whose website, www.yahookochi.com, business cards and premises made unauthorized use of the unique stylized font of the Yahoo logo. He concludes by noting that the Court correctly recognized unique stylized font as an element of trademark.

Pankhuri then announced a recruitment opportunity for the post of ‘Associate’ at a leading IP law firm in New Delhi.

Divij updated us on the developments following the recent Google v. Equustek decision in Canada, which he had covered earlier over here. He notes how the Canadian decision, ordering a global injunction against Google, was recently challenged by it before a US Federal Court. Divij traces the various grounds of challenge – including inter alia, violation of judicial comity, violation of first amendment rights and safe harbor provisions for intermediaries. He concludes by reminding us that regardless of the outcome of the American decision, the Canadian order makes for a flawed precedent.

I, then, reported on the adoption of a new logo by the Indian Medical Association. This logo is a variation of the International Red Cross Society’s famous red cross emblem. I evaluate the intended IP protection for this new logo against the backdrop of the logo’s intended use. I argue that trademark protection might throw up some serious challenges to this use. I conclude by juxtaposing this logo with the original red cross emblem, in an attempt to understand how the IPO will treat this confusingly similar logo in view of the many statutory provisions protecting the emblem from commercial use.

Finally, Pankhuri announced an upcoming seminar, organized by BananaIP Counsels – scheduled to be held on September 22, 2017 at ITC Gardenia in Bangalore. Touted to be the first of its kind, the seminar is entitled ‘The Strategic Inventor’ and designed to “help companies generate business and competitive value driven Patents from their inventors.”

International developments:

Sreyoshi Guha

Sreyoshi is a law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. Her favourite thing about Intellectual Property Law is Copyrights. She can usually be found doing one of three things: dog-earing her favourite pages of her books, looking up a Zomato menu, or day-dreaming of the day she’ll finally meet John Mayer. She doesn’t have any notable achievements, except probably that one time when she encountered a crazy pigeon, and lived to tell the tale. Send her your thoughts at: [email protected]

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