SpicyIP Weekly Review (June 19 – June 25)

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Last week saw some really interesting discussions on the blog. Swaraj announced the new initiative to discuss the history of IP law on the blog and kickstarted this with informative posts from Shivam Kaushik on Indian copyright history and its entanglement with Berne Convention. Later, Lokesh wrote on a 1958 Allahabad High Court order highlighting the State’s demand for an unconditional apology for copyright infringement. We also came across the Bombay High Court’s order noting a disturbing trend of an increasing number of cases where the Replies filed by the applicants are not considered by the Registrar of Trademarks.

Read on below for an update on these as well as other developments and discussions that took place on the blog in the last week. Anything important we’re missing out on? Drop us a comment below! This weekly review is co-authored with SpicyIP Intern Yashna Walia. Yashna is a fifth-year law student at UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Her area of interest lies in IP and corporate law.

Highlights of the Week

Searching for Indian IP History

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For a country with so many IP professionals, there is a remarkable dearth of facts and figures regarding India’s IP laws and policies. While retrieving empirical data, both past and present, is an ever on-going exercise, we are happy to announce a new initiative that aims to start discussion on the history of Indian IP. A new database compiling various original sources is in the works, even as we use blogposts to pinpoint specific issues in history that have shaped IP law today. Starting this endeavour, is a short series by Shivam Kaushik, who will be looking into how developments from pre-independence have affected Indian Copyright law.

Oops! India fell into the Berne Convention

The Pirate Publisher—An International Burlesque that has the Longest Run on Record by Joseph Ferdinand Keppler. Depicting authors surrounding a publisher who republishes their work in other countries without attribution.
Image from here

Shivam Kaushik kickstarts his series on Indian Copyright History with Berne Convention and its entanglement with the Indian Copyright regime. He highlights how the convention was brought in to cater to the needs of the Imperialist copyright-exporting economies against ‘international literary piracy’ and its impact on their colonies, including India.

Year 1958 and Government’s “Nadir-shahi Firman” Over Copyright Infringement!

Image of the "Sorry Princess" Graffiti.
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Apologize for Copyright Infringement? Presenting a blast from the past, Lokesh writes about the interesting 1958 case of J.N. Bhagga And Ors. vs State of UP, where the state demanded an apology from the defendant for allegedly infringing the copyright by publishing copies of Central Legislatures!

Other Posts

Beckoning the State: An Analysis of Open TV Inc vs. Controller of Patents and Design

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Recently, in Open TV Inc vs. Controller of Patents, the Delhi High Court recommended relooking at exclusions on Business Method Patents and directed its registry to share the order with the DPIIT. Pragya Singh and Lakshita Handa write about this move by the Court, discussing the implications of such directions on policymaking.

Case Summaries

Madras High Court denies any copyright infringement upon the literary work ‘Jugiba’ by the Tamil movie ‘Enthiran’

Case : Aarur Tamilnadan v.  S. Sankar and Ors. on 15 June, 2023 (Madras High Court)

Poster of the Tamil film "Enthiran."
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The Madras High Court rejected the plaint alleging that the Tamil movie “Enthiran” infringes the rights of the plaintiff’s literary work “Jugiba”. The plaintiff had argued that the impugned work is based on his story, published in 1996. The Court rejected the plaintiff’s assertion and relying on the evidence held that there are multiple dissimilarities between the competing works. The Court further relied on R G Anand v. Delux Films to hold that there can be no copyright over an idea.

Bombay High Court directs the Senior Examiner of Trade Marks to give fresh consideration to the trademark application

Case :  Acutronic Holding Ag vs The Senior Examiner Of Trade Marks on 21 June, 2023 (Bombay High Court)

The Bombay High Court set aside the impugned order rejecting the appellant’s trademark application and directed the respondent to give a fresh hearing and pass a reasoned order. It was held that the respondent has not considered the submissions made in the appellant’s Reply and have passed the impugned order without sufficient reasoning on the application of Section 11(1).

Bombay High Court observes a trend of non-consideration of replies of trademark applicants by the Registrar of Trade Marks, holds it as an abdication of quasi-judicial functions.

Case: I Am The Ocean, LLC v. Registrar of Trade marks on 14 June, 2023 (Bombay High Court)

Logo of "I am the Ocean"
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The Bombay High Court set aside the impugned order rejecting the appellant’s trademark application and directed the respondent to consider the appellant’s Reply and thereafter give a reasoned order. The impugned order rejected the application u/s 11(1), holding it to be similar to earlier marks. The Court, however, held that the order was passed without considering the appellant’s Reply. Comparing the subject mark with the cited marks, the Court held that it is structurally, visually and phonetically dissimilar. The Court also observed that in a series of matters, it has seen that the respondent has not considered the Replies filed by an applicant and equated it as an abdication of the respondent’s quasi-judicial functions.

Other Developments

combined pic of varaha roopam, and thaikuddam bridge

International Developments

Grammy trophy
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