IP NEWS WEEKLY UPDATE – 6 DEC 2021
Lord of the Rings’ Crypto Blocked under JRR Tolkien’s Trademark Violation:
The ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’ Crypto Currency was created and promoted back in August 2021. According to the developer of the Crypto, the ‘JRR TOKEN’ is a tribute to the late author JRR Tolkien. The family members of the author state that the digital token was set up for the developer’s personal commercial gain and have claimed that there is a trademark violation as the crypto uses the domain name ‘Jrrtoken.com’. The family had approached WIPO in relation to trademark infringement and WIPO ruled that the domain name was confusingly similar to the trademark in relation to the author which the family owns. WIPO directed the developer to put a stop to all its operations under the violating domain name and delete all infringing content, including websites and social media accounts.
Dole Foods Sues Hula Girls Shave Ice for Trademark Infringement:
Dole Packaged Foods sues the frozen dessert sellers for claims such as federal trademark dilution and infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin. Dole Foods states that the defendants use marks such as “Dole” and “Dole Whip” which are well known marks registered by the plaintiff. It is also claimed that several attempts were initiated by the plaintiff to reach an agreement on using their logos and brand but that the defendants were uncooperative in finding a solution for the same which is why the present suit has been initiated.
Apple granted another series of Patents, One Plus Patent application on foldable smartphone:
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 63 newly granted patents for Apple including a method and system of representing a virtual object in a view of a real environment, Retractable MacBook Keyboard, Smart Fabric patents for smart clothing, wearables and vehicle fabrics. The smart fabric products are the most expected ones as introduction of the product contributes in expanding Apple’s wearables portfolio. While OnePlus Patent applications indicate the introduction of foldable smartphones with asymmetrical hinges. Apple’s recently patented products and the OnePlus foldable phones are expected to hit the markets soon.
Changes to The Singapore Copyright Act:
The Amended Singapore Copyright Act came into force on November 21, 2021 and the major objective behind the amendment is to enhance protection of copyright in view of the various technological developments. Some of the important amendments include- The copyright for all type of works created under commission will be owned by the creator. Similarly, whenever the work of a particular creator is used in public, the creators of the work have a right to be identified and incase of public broadcasting of sound works, the copyright owners can collect fees on the same. The amendment also specifies certain exceptions that cannot be restricted by contracts between the parties involved.
Instagram Once Again Seeks Dismissal of Derivative Liability Copyright Infringement Suit:
A revised complaint was filed by two photographers alleging Instagram of secondary copyright infringement. Previously, the Court opined that Instagram was not liable secondarily as the Plaintiffs failed the Ninth Circuit’s “Server Test” which narrows copyright infringement to instances where a party stores copyrighted work on a server. Instagram now claims that the complainants should not be allowed to waste the Court’s limited resources by filing serial amended complaints that are subject to dismissal for the exact same reasons and also relies upon the previous judgment of the court.
Is copyright “property” for the purposes of the Property (Relationships) Act? Artist granted right to Appeal:
Painter Sirpa Elise Alalääkkölä and her husband approached the court for divorce and division of property which included the Copyrighted paintings. The judge ruled that the copyright for the artworks is not relationship property and the skills possessed by Alalääkkölä was used by her to make those artworks which already existed before she got married. But, the husband wanted an equal share in the rights of the copyright as he aims to copy and sell these art pieces and proceeded for an appeal before the High Court. In the decision for the appeal, the judge stated that copyright in an artistic work is relationship property. The artist expressed her concern about losing her personal brand for which various individuals and communities expressed their support for in various social media platforms. Presently, the High Court has granted the artist a right to appeal. There are high expectations from the appeal and the following judgment as the case has raised a novel query as to how copyrighted materials ought to be treated especially in relation to family disputes.
Various organizations insist WHO to postpone its upcoming ministerial meeting unless decisions on IP and Patent waiver for Covid-19 drugs finalized:
Over 130 national and international civil society organizations are demanding the World Trade Organization to postpone its upcoming ministerial meeting unless it first agrees to adopt IP and Patent waiver. Various open letters are also sent to the members of the WTO insisting the same. The organizations also stress that it is high time an action on the TRIPS waiver is undertaken and is requesting to direct on coming to urgent agreement on the TRIPS waiver.
Vietnam becomes signatory to WIPO Copyright Treaty:
Vietnam’s signed treaty document was handed over to WIPO on November 25, 2021 by Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Permanent Representative of Vietnam in Geneva. He also said “WCT not only meets the country’s commitment in a number of new-generation free trade agreements of which it is a member, but also provides an effective legal foundation for the protection of copyrights on digital platforms”. This treaty accession is expected to develop the software industry and digital platforms in Vietnam and development of the creative and cultural industries in the country will help Vietnam further develop its economic growth.
Canada’s IP office introduces new online tool for patent national entry request:
The CIPO’s online tool is used to submit Patent Cooperation Treaty national entry requests and the system promises faster verification and the instant receipt of an application number. Previously, there existed a waiting period for confirmation that the applications have been received which is eliminated through the online mechanism. It was also stated by the CIPO’s representative that the launch of the new online tool is part of the CIPO’s broader information technology modernization effort to offer more services online to simplify the application process for intellectual property registration.
Hero Electric Vehicles Private Ltd. vs Mr. Guddu Ansari & Ors:
The Plaintiffs have registered various trademarks which hold their brand name “HERO” and have filed a suit against the defendants for infringement of their trademarks. The plaintiff claims that that the Defendants, without prior authorization, are using the impugned trademarks – “Hero” and “Hero Electric” and the domain name “www.heroelectric.in” thereby infringing the trademarks of the Plaintiffs; copyrights in the literary and artistic works of the Plaintiffs in its domain name and causing confusion in the minds on unwary customers. The court stated that the Plaintiffs have established a prima facie case in their favour as it is clear from the comparison between the rival marks that the defendants have merely copied the mark of the plaintiffs. It also opined that if an ad- interim injunction is not granted, irreparable loss would be caused to the Plaintiffs. Accordingly, the Defendants are restrained from carrying on any activity in relation to usage of the impugned mark until the next hearing.
Star India Pvt. Ltd. vs Extramovies.Click & Ors.:
The Plaintiff which is a leading entertainment company has filed the suit seeking permanent injunction in infringing the plaintiff’s exclusive rights and copyright and damages against the defendant. It is claimed by Star India that the defendant infringes copyrighted contents belonging to them on regular basis and makes it available on public forums in a form which is downloadable. It also provides proofs of earlier instances of infringement of movies which are exclusively available on their OTT platform only. Presently, the plaintiff is ready for its theatrical release of the movie ‘TADAP’ which is jointly produced by Fox Star Studios which is a division of the Plaintiff- Star India and states that it has made huge investments in producing the film thus no other entity has the right to bring the film to the public forum. Based on past experience, the plaintiff states that the defendants will again infringe their exclusive rights in the Film, thereby directly impacting the plaintiff’s business and the value of the Film. The court has opined that the plaintiff has made out a prima facie case and has ordered the defendants to restrain from any activities which amount to infringing any of the copyrighted contents until next hearing.
M/S. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. vs Rahaman Syed Abdul & Ors.:
The suit was filed by the plaintiff for grant of permanent injunction restraining the defendants from using the trademark MAJESTIC PROPERTY or any other trademark as may be deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s trademark TIMES PROPERTY and claims that the mark of the defendant is similar to that of the plaintiff as it is adopted in the same font and format. The court held that both the marks are structurally, phonetically and visually dissimilar and that the business lines of both the parties were different. One of the major drawback from the plaintiff’s part is that, they did not file legal use certificates or any other documents to show that they are the registered owner of the trademark TIMES PROPERTY and failed to prove that they are the registered owner of the trademark TIMES PROPERTY.
P. Sundaram v. Asia Match Company Private Limited:
A suit was filed by the plaintiff based on the grievance that their registered trademark and the copyright in the artistic work of their label are infringed by the defendants. The present case is filed by the defendant challenging the jurisdiction of the case filed by the plaintiff. The place of business of the Plaintiff is situated at Sivakasi. The defendant claims that the presence of a branch office at Chennai does not attract the particular jurisdiction and to constitute carrying on business at a certain place, the essential part of the business must take place in that particular place. The court opined that when the suitability of a forum is considered, the court will look if the cause of action has even remotely arisen within its jurisdiction. In the instant case, the cause of action did not even remotely arise within the said jurisdiction and the entire suit was filed relying upon the situation of the branch office and it was held that the Commercial Division does not have territorial jurisdiction to proceed further with the suit.
Unilever files Patent for metal free antiperspirant formula:
Two patents have been filed for this formula which is proposed to be used as underarm deo and does not contain any traditional metal based contents or salts like Aluminum but uses a blend of polymers, solvents and plasticizers as an alternative. Presently, the formula is in an aerosol format and is stated that it could be used in the future in a gel or stick form.