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SpicyIP Weekly Review (November 12 –18)


This week’s topical highlight is Prashant’s investigation into the Indian Home Minister’s claims that copyright infringement and piracy are responsible for funding terrorism. Skeptical of these claims, Prashant requested the Ministry of Home Affairs for any information they may have to back up the claims made by the Home Minister. The MHA responded that they did not have any data to back up these claims, highlighting that the strange spectre of copyright infringement being a national security issue has little or no basis in fact.

The thematic highlight for this week was the guest post by Alphonsa Jojan, on the Indian Biological Diversity Act. Alphonsa writes about how the benefit-sharing provisions under the Act have been embroiled in interpretational challenges in courts, and also how its implementation in terms of enforcing its provisions and punishing offences has been shoddy. Alfonso ends the piece with a call to the judiciary to develop clearer jurisprudence around the Act.

Pankhuri brought us a story on the unavailability of public data with Indian authorities, despite the fact that such data ought to be openly available. The story of a PhD student from IIT Kanpur, who was unable to access trademark information through the Annual Returns of the Controller’s Office. Despite exhausting several routes (including filing an RTI and visiting public archives), these reports do not seem to be publically available. While SpicyIP has uploaded some of the information that Manu had accessed, we are still on the lookout for digitized versions of Trademark Annual Reports. Please do get in touch if any readers have these available with them!

Next, Prashant brought us another update on the legal tussle between the music industry and copyright societies. In a case filed by the Indian Singer’s Right Association, the Delhi High Court set aside settlements entered into between ISRA and the private defendants, upon an application by music labels to intervene in the proceedings, claiming that ISRA has no rights to the royalties being collected by it. Prashant laments how the continuous legal tussles between these warring fronts is eating away at the whole of the Indian music industry.

Finally, Mathews brought us a case update from the Karnataka High Court, in its decision in M/S Adiga Sweets vs M/S Vasudeva Adigas Fast Food Pvt. The case was filed claiming passing off and infringement of the Plaintiff’s trademark ‘adiga’s’ by adopting the trademark of ‘adiga’s sweets’. In assessing the claim for passing off, and analyzing ‘deceptive similarity’, the judgment touched upon an important aspect of the psychological impact of trademark confusion upon consumers. Keeping this in mind as a factor, the Court upheld the lower court’s order that the Defendant was passing off the Plaintiff’s trademark.

Events:

Centre for Intellectual Property Rights, Institute of Law, Nirma University organized its first Intellectual Property Fest, Shrujan 2k17- Celebrating Culture, Creativity and Heritage on November 18, 2017. The fest consisted of a panel discussion, an exhibition on Geographical Indicators in Gujarat and a showcase of folk culture.

Other Developments

Judgments

  1. Verizon Trademark Services Llc  vs Mr Parth Solanki & Anr – Delhi High Court [November 9, 2017]

The court held passed an order of ex-parte permanent injunction against the Defendants from using the mark ‘VARIZON’ as it infringed the registered trademark the Plaintiffs ‘VERIZON’. The defendant was engaged in the business of website hosting and website development and was using the Plaintiffs’ registered mark to benefit from their goodwill.

`2. Helamin Technology Holding vs Haribansh Rai & Ors – Delhi High Court [November 13, 2017]

The court passed an order ex-parte permanent injunction against the Defendants from using the mark ‘HELAMIN’ as the Plaintiff was successful in proving that there a valid suit for passing off. The plaintiff was engaged in the business of manufacturing water treatment equipment and chemicals and the Defendants started manufacturing fake equipment and passed them off as the product of the Plaintiff.

`3. Tata Sons Limited & Ors. vs M/S Mayuri Beverages – Delhi High Court [November 9, 2017]

The court granted a ex-parte permanent injunction against the Defendants for infringing the trademark of the Plaintiff by using the deceptively similar trade dress and the mark ‘TAZA WATER PLUS’. This mark resembled the Plaintiff’s registered trademark ‘TATA WATER PLUS’.

News

  1. American launches a satyagraha to free Indian standards
  2. Rosogolla Belongs to Bengal, State Wins GI Tag Battle Against Odisha
  3. Mukul Roy: TMC slogan registered in name of Mamata nephew Abhishek Banerjee
  4. Filing up of various posts in the office of IPAB, Chennai under Administrative control of DIPP, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India
  5. After Bengal gets GI tag for ‘rosogolla’, Odisha to apply for ‘Odishara rasagola’
  6. 35th Session of the World Intellectual Property Organisation Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights being held at Geneva, between November 13 – 17.

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