RMPL Registered as Copyright Society for Sound Recordings: But What about PPL, Transparency, and the Delays?
In this post, Nikhil analyses Recorded Music Performance Limited (‘RMPL’) becoming the first copyright society to be granted a registration with respect to sound recordings, nine years after the 2012 amendments to the Copyright Act. He notes that the Phonographic Performance Limited India (‘PPL’) has also been attempting to obtain registration as a copyright society for the same kind of works. He argues that this registration might be inconsistent with the directions of the Delhi HC in a suit filed by PPL. Further, he notes that the government is required to consider several factors while deciding upon an application for registration as a copyright society. The manner in which this determination is made as well as the discussions about it are not publicly available. Nikhil highlights that even the announcement of grant of registration to RMPL does not come with reasons behind doing so, which is particularly problematic in the instant case. He also emphasises that there is no logical explanation behind the government excessively delaying upon deciding applications for registration of copyright societies.
The Examination of the Examiner: Analysing the Delhi High Court’s Recent Observations
In this guest post, Aditya Mittal analyses the recent case of Bharati Rathore v. Union of India and Ors., wherein the Delhi High Court made some strong observations regarding the procedure followed by the Government in the selection of Examiner of Patents and Designs. The court passed the matter to the PIL bench for further adjudication. As per Rule 18(2) of Patent Rules, 2003, the Delhi branch of the Patent Office got the power to deal with International Bureau and any other International Searching Authority (ISA) and IPEA. The Examiner is required to prepare the International Search Report (ISR). The Examiner has to search whether the description/drawings/claims of the International Application are following provisions of the Indian Patents Act. Accordingly, the information is sent to the applicant to comply with provisions in case required or pay additional fee in case of non-utility claims. The Court therefore highlighted the importance of the Examiner, as the first point of contact of the application in the prosecution process and their role in making some significant decisions. Aditya also noted that the actions of the Examiner have become more significant now after the dissolution of IPAB because the appeal from the Patent Office would directly lie in the respective High Courts which will not have any technical member on the bench, unlike the IPAB. This would increase the dependence on the Patent Office’s decision, which would make it all the more necessary to have competent people in the Patent Office, in terms of their technical skills and their inter-personal qualities.
A Guide on Fair Use Cases in India – Part II
On the occasion of World IP Day earlier this year, Pankhuri had shared the initial installment of a compilation of all the fair use decisions pronounced by India’s high courts and the Supreme Court under the Copyright Act, 1957 till date. This initial installment compiled the decisions relating to education and research. On the occasion on the World Music Day (June 21, 2021, Pankhuri shared the second installment compiling decisions relating to use of copyrighted songs (e.g. for purposes of TV broadcasting, internet broadcasting/online streaming, festival related events or religious/marriage ceremonies). The list was prepared with the help of Bhavik Shukla, who had been a long-term intern with SpicyIP. The pdf version of the updated compilation containing both installments can be viewed here and the word version here).
Reminder: 2nd Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law [Submit by July 14]
On the occasion of our Founder Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer’s 45th birth anniversary on 14th May, we had announced the second edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law to celebrate his memory and his legacy of outstanding scholarship. In this post, we reminded our readers that the deadline for submissions for the competition is July 14, 2021 (23:59 IST). Other details of the competition are provided in the post itself.
Panel Discussion on ‘Pharma Corporations Demand Indemnity in Lieu of mRNA Vaccine Supply in India: Legal and Ethical Issues’ [June 23]
In this post, we informed our readers that the MSF Access Campaign and the Third World Network is organizing a panel discussion on ‘Pharma Corporations Demand Indemnity in Lieu of mRNA Vaccine Supply in India: Legal and Ethical Issues’ on 23rd June, 2021 (tomorrow) from 4 pm to 5:30 pm (IST). Further details, including information about the Speakers and the registration link and procedure are provided in the post itself.
Decisions from Indian Courts
- The Madras High Court in Sun Knitting Company v. Sheshachala Hosiery Pvt. Ltd., dismissed the suit for grant of permanent injunction restraining the defendants from infringing the plaintiff’s registered trademark. ‘SUN’, because of the disinterest shown by the plaintiff in not responding to its counsel. Thus, the suit was dismissed for non-prosecution. [22 June, 2021]
- The Madras High Court in M/S. Dabur India Ltd. v. Bison Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., granted the plaintiff’s prayer of permanent injunction and noted that there was a deceptive similarity between the two marks concerned, restraining the defendants from infringing the registered trade mark of the plaintiff ODOPIC and offering for sale or marketing any of the defendants products under the trade mark “ODOSOL”. [22 June, 2021]
- The Madras High Court in Asianet Communications Ltd v. Kairali Channel, a case where the plaintiff claimed satellite telecast rights for the Malayalam featured film ”GOD FATHER” for a period of five years from the date of its tele-cine transfer, held that the right of the plaintiff under the agreement dated 14.08.1995 was valid only for a period of 5 years from 28.07.1997, which has expired long ago. Thus, the plaintiff was held to have no chance of succeeding in the suit and the suit was dismissed. [22 June, 2021]
- The Delhi High Court issued notice in an appeal preferred by late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s father, Krishna Kishore Singh on being informed that the movie, “Nyay: The Justice” was released on OTT platform Lapalap. The appeal was against the order which refusedto restrain the producers from using the name, caricature, and/or likelihood of the actor in the movie. [25 June, 2021]
- The Bangalore District Court in Sony Corporation v. M/s. Sony Tours & Travels, held that the defendant company was running a small tours and travel business in a compact place while the plaintiff corporation is engaged in manufacture of electronic goods, thus, the nature of their businesses are completely different and the plaintiff has failed to show any irreparable injury or detriment to the reputation of its mark caused due the defendant’s business. Further, the plaintiff did not explain the delay of 16 years in filing the suit from the issuance of notice, as a result, the Court dismissed the plaintiff’s suit with cost of Rs.25,000. [18 June, 2021]
- The Bombay High Court granted ad-interim relief in favour of Pidilite Industries for the trademark and labels with respect to their Fixit range of products. Justice GS Patel held that that a very strong prima facie case was made out both for infringement and passing off of the plaintiff’s marks in question.
News from India
- Actor Kangana Ranaut and her brother filed a petition in the Bombay High Court to quash the FIR against them, filed by the author of the book Didda: The Warrior Queen of Kashmir. The Actor relied on the Supreme Court judgment in RG Anand vs Delux Films & Ors., where the court held that there can be no copyright in an idea, plots or historical or legendary facts and violation of the copyright in such cases is confined to the manner, arrangement and expression of the concept by the author.
- Bal Pharma announced that it has launched the antiviral medicine Favipiravir for the treatment of Covid-19 in the domestic market under the brand name BALflu.
- Drugmaker Bajaj Healthcare Limited requested the Indian patent office for grant of a compulsory licence to it for the manufacture and supply of Baricitinib, one of the potential treatment options against Covid-19.
- This article in The Wire by Progressive International analysed the four-day Vaccine Internationalism Summit and the commitments made therein, as an emergency response to the prevailing vaccine apartheid.
- Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an RSS offshoot, has urged the World Trade Organization (WTO) to alter the terms of its Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement to allow patent-free manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
- On the basis of a copyright complaint filed by music label T-Series, Google has deleted the indigenous social media app Bolo Indya from the Playstore.
Other News from Around the World
- Europe’s top court ruled that Google’s YouTube and other internet platforms are not accountable for copyright-infringing works posted by users onto their platforms. Frank Peterson, a music producer, sued YouTube and Google in Germany in 2008 for the uploading to YouTube by users of various phonograms to which he owns the rights.
- A Texas, USA Court ruled in favour of com Inc. in a trial where it was alleged that Amazon incorporated an Israeli company’s patented “smart kitchen” inventions for voice commands in order to engage in online shopping for groceries into the Alexa digital assistant.
- Dolby Laboratories Inc., Sony Group Corp., and the research organisation Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s U.S. arm have formed a patent pool, which they claim will advance the next generation of sound without the litigation that has beset the technology industry for years.
- The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the validity of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which has cancelled over 2,000 patents, overcoming constitutional difficulties by granting a presidentially nominated official more ability to overturn the board’s rulings.