IP NEWS WEEKLY UPDATE – 30 DEC 2021
Kyobo Life fined for letting subsidiaries use IPs for free
The insurance company holds various forms of IPs including numerous trademarks and copyrights. The company was accused of letting their subsidiaries use the Kyobo brand without paying fees from 2016 to 2019. The South Korea’s financial watchdog has ordered Kyobo Life Insurance Co. to pay a fine of 350 million won for providing undue support to the subsidiaries. The action has been taken considering the economic value of the company as the unpaid fees are estimated to be billions of won.
H&R Block claims trademark infringement by Square’s
The tax preparation service company H&R has filed a trademark infringement case over Square’s new name, Block. H&R claim that they intend to protect the consumers from being deceived and to prevent a tech company from stealing their trademarked name. The suit was initiated two weeks after the announcement by Square’s in relation to the adoption of its new name and H&R also claim that the consumers are drawing a link between the two companies because of similarity in name in such a short span of time.
Fight for the mark ‘VIOLET CROWN’
The VIOLET CROWN AUSTI THEATER owned by the Violet Crown Cinemas LLC owns several registered trademarks, including “Violet Crown” in connection with movie theaters, the production and distribution of pictures, and bar and restaurant services and movie theaters. The suit was filed against International Development Management Co. which has planned a huge project which includes an amphitheater called the ‘Violet Crown Amphitheater’. Violet Crown Cinemas claim that, construction of an amphitheater with a deceptively similar name especially when the company plans to expand its theatre to different parts of the state is a pre-planned act and that they had sent IDM a cease-and-desist letter to which there was no response. The company claims reliefs in relation to federal trademark infringement and dilution of the “Violet Crown” trademark, unfair competition, common law trademark infringement and unfair competition, and state trademark dilution and injury to business reputation.
OPEX Corporation v. HC Robotics
The global provider of innovative warehouse and mail automation solutions, has filed complaints for patent infringement in the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against HC Robotics for infringement of various OPEX patents that are directed to improvements of various products. It has also filed number of complaints against Ivanta for infringement of patents that are directed to improvements to OPEX’s Sure Sort and Perfect Pick products and their associated iBOT vehicles. The company has also states that it respect others intellectual property and expect others to respect theirs as well and that they will vigorously defend their intellectual property.
Acer’s patent infringement accusation on Volkswagen
Acer has sued VW in a Virginia court over patent infringement and is accused of infringing mobile network patents. Acer claims that VW is only paying for 2G and 3G patents while using 4G chips in its vehicles sold in the last two years. But, Volkswagen denied these claims and states that allegations made by Acer are unfounded. Both the companies have been very keen in protecting their IPs in the recent times and VW has specifically states that the company would defend its position by examining the suit together.
Nippon Steel sues Mitsui over patent infringement
Nippon Steel has filed a lawsuit with Tokyo District Court against trader Mitsui & Co. for infringement of Nippon’s patent related to electric motor-driven vehicles. It is also stated that the trader is a part of Nippon’s business with Toyota and a Chinese Steel manufacturer against whom Nippon has already filed suits for infringement of its patents. The company had claimed for monetary damages in its suit against Toyota and the same is expected to be claimed from Mitsui.
Amazon revising internal processes following false copyright strike
A YouTuber had found that a bug existed in a game belonging to Amazon Game Studios, which was explained in a video and sent to Amazon Games support. Unexpectedly, the video and the channel were granted a manual copyright strike. The officials on behalf of amazon have apologized for the act and stated that the intended target for the strike was an advertisement on YouTube for a gold selling website and by mistake, this video was reported instead. It has also stated that it will be revising its internal process to prevent such mishaps from happening in the future.
Tencent claims $126 Million from Douyin in relation to copyright dispute
In June 2021, Tencent sued Douyin claiming that the content uploaded by users through Douyin’s platform infringed upon their content’s copyright. It claimed that Douyin has to immediately delete all the infringing videos and take effective measures to filter other infringing videos uploaded and by users. They also requested the court to order Douyin pay a compensation fee of 61.6 million yuan. Tencent also requested the court to order Douyin to pay a compensation fee of 61.6 million yuan. Currently, the company has increased its claim amount for the copyright dispute from 61.6 million yuan to 800 million yuan. The company has already sued Douyin 168 times in 18 courts in 13 provinces across the country on the grounds of copyright infringement. It is pertinent to mention that in 2020, the Beijing Court issued a judgment on another similar infringement case of “Soul Land” where the company received 80,000 yuan as compensation.
Quidditch leagues to change name due to copyright issues
Warner Bros., the production company behind the “Harry Potter” movies, has the trademark on the term “Quidditch”. The adoption of the name Quidditch leagues did create copyright and trademark concerns. The author of the series had criticized the use of the name which were on the headlines last year. Presently, the league is dropping their name to both distance themselves from J.K. Rowling’s “anti-trans positions” and avoid trademark concerns.
Eric Clapton sues individual for selling bootleg CD on eBay for Copyright Infringement
Clapton had sued an individual for illegally selling Bootleg CD on an online platform for $11 USD. The claims made by Eric were that the recording of the event was illegal and the sale of the same amounted to copyright infringement. The seller’s defense here was that she was not aware that she was infringing copyright when she put the CD up for sale and that her late-husband had purchased it in 1987 at a well-known department store, but the statements were rejected. Presently, the Düsseldorf regional court has ruled in favour of Eric and the defendant will be required to pay the legal fees of both parties, and if she continues to offer the CD for sale, she could face six months in prison or a fine totalling up to $281,180 USD.
Sci-Hub gets sued again, this time in India
The pirated site provides nearly 85 million journal articles for free, and has been accused several times in various countries for infringement of copyright. The site faces legal challenges presently in India, and for the first time, the site will be defending its operations in court. The case was filed in the Delhi High Court by a group of academic publishers. This opportunity for the site to defend itself in the Indian court is due to India’s copyright law. Our country’s copyright law states that “fair dealings,” such as research, are not subject to copyright infringement, and there are much speculations that the court may rule in Sci-Hub’s favor.
Ad agency must pay damages for placing adverts on pirated sites
The pirate site Manga, received huge response and was one of the most successful sites of its kind and is presently defunct due to the number of copyright infringement claims. Recently. The Tokyo District Court has ordered two advertising companies to pay damages to a cartoonist whose work was offered illegally on the pirate site. The Court stated that by posting adverts on the site, the agencies assisted in the copyright infringements and should also be held liable to pay damages. MM Lab and Global Net were ordered to pay 11 million yen to the cartoonist, whose attorney stated that this is the first time that an advertising agency is been held liable for placing ads on pirate sites.
M/S. Blue Heaven Cosmetics Pvt. v. Shivani Cosmetics
The Plaintiff is a private limited company dealing in the manufacturing and marketing of goods falling in Class-03 and 35 under the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 under the registered trademarks since 1972. The Plaintiff also states that it keeps changing the packaging/labels of its products from time to time to adapt to competition in the market, and has protected its rights in such packaging/label by seeking registration of its trademark and copyright. One such unique mark of the Plaintiff is “BLUE HEAVEN GET BOLD” a brand of Eyeliner which was adopted in the year 2020. The Plaintiff further states that it has come across the defendants who use their trademark and an exact copy of the packaging and labeling of the Plaintiff recently. The court stated that upon an evaluation of the Plaintiff’s trademark with the Defendant’s product is it prima facie evident that the Defendant copied not only the trademark but also the trade dress, copyright, writing style, colour combination, label and packaging and the overall get up of the Plaintiff’s mark. Accordingly, the court has ordered the Defendants to restrain in any form of activity that involves the mark “BLUE HEAVEN GET BOLD”.
Tata Sia Airlines Limited v. Kanha Trading Co.
Tata Sia alleges that the Defendants have infringed its registered and well-known trademark ‘VISTARA’. The plaintiff provides aviation services and aviation related services and the defendant has applied for registration of the mark, “VISTAARA”, under Class 25 on proposed to be used basis in relation to footwear, on 21st April, 2021. The plaintiff points out that the Registry of Trademarks has objected to the mark, on the ground that it was deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s registered mark. The Plaintiff also claims that the defendant was seeking to capitalise on the goodwill of the plaintiff and infringe the registered mark of the plaintiff. Presently the court has restrained the defendant from offering any goods or services or using, in any manner, including by way of a trade name, corporate name, or domain name, the mark, “VISTAARA”, or any other mark which is deceptively or confusingly similar to the plaintiffs’ registered mark, “VISTARA”, as well as from using the logo in respect of any goods or services until the next hearing.