SpicyIP Weekly Review (August 16 – 22)

PV Sindhu’s Olympics Victory: How Non-Sponsors Skirt the Law by ‘Congratulating’ Athletes

In a guest post, Satchit Bhogle covered the issue of infringement of personality rights. Writing this post in the context of PV Sindhu’s success at the Tokyo Olympics and how that has spurred companies who do not sponsor her to put up congratulatory messages on social media with their brand logos and while using her images, Satchit analyses the discourse on the right to publicity surrounding the issue. The post covers the prevailing precedents on the matter. It is noted that the test for identifying infringement of personality rights is to check whether there has been unauthorised use of identity for commercial gain and if there is a likelihood of confusion. Satchit then applies this test against the instances of brands congratulating India’s athletes for their recent feats and checks whether the same passes the threshold for infringement. In conclusion, he notes that brands are likely to risk being sued when they make their own identifiers too prominent in congratulatory messages while capitalising on the buzz surrounding celebrities whom they do not sponsor.

Call for Applications: Research Assistants – IPR Chair at NALSAR, Hyderabad [Apply by August 25]

We announced that NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad is inviting applications for the position of research assistants for the IPR Chair Project at the university. Details on the positions open, qualifications required, scope of work, application process, salary and other general information can be viewed in the post here. The last date for applying is August 25, 2021.

Other Developments

 Decisions from Indian Courts

  • The Delhi High Court in the case of Zed Lifestyle Pvt Ltd v. Hardik Mukeshbhai Pansheriya granted an extension in a previously granted interim injunction in favour of the plaintiff in a case concerning the infringement of the trademark ‘Beardo’ [August 16, 2021].
  • In Bristol-Myers Squibb Ireland Unlimited v. Micro Labs Limited the Delhi High Court granted an ex-parte interim injunction in favour of the plaintiff in a case involving a patent of the compound ‘Apixaban’. The defendant had been listing generic Apixaban products on various third-party websites under the name ‘Apivas’ and this was identified to infringe the plaintiff’s patent in Apixaban [August 16, 2021].
  • The Delhi High Court in the case of Delhi Public School Society v. Delhi Public International School granted an interim injunction in favour of the plaintiff and restrained the defendant from using the trademark/ names ‘Delhi Public International School’ and ‘DPIS’ [August 17, 2021].
  • The Calcutta High Court in the case of RDB and Company v. Zee Entertainment Enterprises refused to grant an interim injunction in a case involving the telecasting of certain films by Zee Entertainment on their satellite channels and OTT platform in which the plaintiff claimed ownership of copyright. The Court examined the contractual agreements between the parties to hold in favour of the defendant [August 18, 2021].

News from India

  • In an opinion piece in The Hindu, our student fellow Anupriya Dhonchak and former blogger Rahul Bajaj wrote on the access to knowledge implications of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce report on the IPR regime in India. They argue that the report adopts a myopic view of the educational exception in Indian copyright law and how this will hinder access to educational content if implemented. You can read our posts on the report here, here, here, here and here.
  • In a speech delivered while conferring the National Intellectual Property Awards 2020, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal stated that there is a need to bring in an IP revolution that will boost job creation, quality, competitiveness and manufacturing. He emphasized the possibility of India becoming an innovation powerhouse in the near future.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced an 80% reduction in patent application fees for all recognised educational institutions. The fee reduction will be applicable to recognised educational institutions in India and abroad. This move has been reported to bring down the application fee from Rs. 4.25 lakhs for an institute to about Rs. 85,000.

Other News from Around the World

  • The Delaware federal court ruled against Natco Pharma and in favour of AbbVie’s Pharmacyclics in a patent infringement litigation involving Imbruvica, a generic variant of Ibrutinib. Imbruvica and Ibrutinib are used in the treatment of blood cancer. It has been reported that Natco Pharma is expected to file a review of this judgment.
  • The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas directed Apple Inc. to pay $300 million in royalties after a retrial in a patent infringement dispute concerning a wireless LTE cellular standard technology.
  • In a preliminary ruling, a judge of the International Trade Commission in Washington found in favour of Sonos Inc. and held that Google Inc. had infringed on five patents held by Sonos. The disputed patents involve techniques to synchronize audio playback in music devices, techniques to pair speakers to create stereo sounds and techniques to connect audio systems to home Wi-Fi networks.
  • It has been reported that Clubhouse has reached an undisclosed settlement with SBS Consulting Group over the issue of infringement of the trademark ‘The Clubhouse’. SBS Consulting had earlier sued Clubhouse’s parent company Alpha Exploration Co., in the Arizona federal court for trademark infringement.

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