Our thematic highlight for this week came from a guest post by Dr Balakrishna Pisupati, who wrote on the strict interpretation of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 and associated rules, which has resulted in a number of people falling foul of the legislation’s penal provisions. Dr Pisupati highlighted the dissonance in the provisions on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing which have been interpreted by the Indian Govt. to restrict the use of biological resources rather than facilitate it. Dr Pisupati also discussed the overly broad meaning given to ‘commercialisation’, which results in activities such as manufacturing grocery items require permission of the Govt.
Rahul blogged about a recent Delhi High Court judgment was this week’s topical highlight. The case concerned a passing off claim against Apple for using the phrase ‘Split View’ to describe a particular software. While the court rightly found in favour of the respondent, Rahul highlights the court’s statement positing that the usage of the trademark by Apple could only increase the goodwill in the plaintiff’s brand is deeply problematic, since it would allow giants such as Apple a free pass to knock-off trademarks of any company that is relatively small.
Next, Mathews wrote on a recent decision of the Madras High Court on trademark registration and well-known marks. In this judgment, the court refused to recognise the defensive registration of CYCLE BRAND as it did not contain any invented words. The court also cited a lack of evidence while refusing to accord the ‘well-known trademark’ tag in this case. Mathews notes that the court’s stance indicates zero tolerance towards squatters and a deference for evidence.
Mathews also broke P&G’s recent win in a trademark case against Jamia Remedies in the Bombay High Court. The mark, ‘Oral-B’ was held to have been infringed by the usage of the mark ‘Ora-B’ due to deceptive similarity.
Finally, Divij blogged about the grant of Russia’s first compulsory license by an Arbitration Court in Moscow. The compulsory license was granted to Nativa for the production of a generic version of Revlemid, an anti-cancer drug after the Russian court found that the dependent invention of Nativa is an important technical achievement and has significant economic advantages over the invention of the first patent.
Pankhuri informed us of the second edition of the Sports Law & Policy Symposium, to be held at the India International Centre, New Delhi between August 17-18, 2018. Apart from sports law issues, some of the issues which will be discussed in the Symposium include refreshing sports broadcasting regulation in India and whether celebrities should be held liable for the products they endorse, amongst others.
Pankhuri also brought to our notice a crash course for the Patent Agent Examination 2018 being offered by IIPRD and Khurana & Khurana. The course will last for a duration of 2 months between September-October 2018 and will be held physically in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai. Registration charges include a fee of INR 15,000.
Tata Sia Airlines Limited v. Vistara International Private Limited and Another – Delhi High Court [July 18, 2018]
The Court granted an ex-parte decree of permanent injunction restraining the Defendant from using the Plaintiff’s mark “VISTARA”, with respect to travel and ticketing services, on the ground that the Plaintiff was the registered proprietor of the mark and the Defendant may be confused to be an affiliate of the Plaintiff due to their identical trade names. Furthermore, the Court permitted the Plaintiff to seek a transfer of the Defendant’s domain names and cancellation or modification of its corporate name due using the mark “VISTARA”.
Sh. Sanjay Kumar Gupta & Anr. v. Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited & Others – Delhi District Court [July 13, 2018]
The dispute concerned the alleged infringement of the Plaintiff’s copyright in the concept of home viewers’ participation through their phones in a quiz competition being simultaneously played by a contestant, by the Defendant in their television show through the “JIO KBC Play Along” format. The Court noted that the engagement of audience at their homes has been a recurring phenomenon across various television shows and therefore, certain similarities in relation to the concept are bound to occur. However, it was further opined that the Defendant’s concept with respect to the selection of the home audience, progression of the game, rewards system and the prize money was substantially different from that of the Plaintiff. The issue of alleged breach of confidence was also found against the Plaintiff, and in view of these two issues, the Court dismissed the suit.
Jasper Motors Private Limited and Another v. The Proprietor, Basantee Battery Operated Rickshaw and Others – Calcutta High Court [July 18, 2018]
The Court recalled the interim injunction order passed by it in relation to the Plaintiff’s patent on application by the Defendant. In arriving at this conclusion, the Court stated that the Plaintiff’s patent was merely a duplication of the known devices to create a Fuel Cell system and did not result in improvement or advancement of the existing knowledge on the subject, besides the fact that the patent had not been in use by the Plaintiff. However, the Court did not conclusively rule on the issue of the validity of the patent.
Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited v. Naveen Kumar Jindal & Anr. – Delhi High Court [July 13, 2018]
The dispute concerned Defendant’s use of various trademarks like “VOLFITZ”, “ANTOSID” and “LULYF” in committing alleged infringement and passing off of the Plaintiff’s corresponding trademarks of “VOLINI”, “PANTOCID” and “LULIFIN”. The Defendant agreed not to use such deceptively similar marks and to also withdraw or amend the pending trademark applications for the impugned marks. The suit was decreed in favour of the Plaintiff and 50% of the Court fees were refunded to them.