IP NEWS WEEKLY UPDATE – 12 JAN 2022
AWS Music marks opposed by Amazon
Amazon Technologies Inc. is opposing the registration of the mark “AWS MUSIC” claiming that the consumers are likely to be confused, mistaken, or deceived into believing that the goods offered under the newly applied AWS MUSIC mark are in some way endorsed by Amazon. It is also claimed by the Opponent that the company is the owner of 50 domestic registrations and pending trademark applications for its AWS Marks, covering a wide-range of goods and services and because of the company’s prior adoption and continuous use of the marks since 2002 and its substantial investment in advertising and promotion, the AWS Marks are famous and the consumers recognize them as uniquely associated with Amazon. Amazon also states that the goods and services that AWS MUSIC would deal with is similar to that of the goods and services provided by the company thus would create greater confusion among the public.
Eric A Eliot v. Joseph Anthony Cartagena
This Copyright suit was filed back in 2019 based on the song ‘All the Way Up’ released in the year 2016 which was initiated by its Co- Author Eric against artists Fat Joe and Remy Ma. Eric claimed that he had co-authored the song but had been cheated out of proper compensation and ownership rights which also amounted to Copyright infringement. Fat Joe argued that he had paid Eric a sum of $5,000 for his contributions shortly after the song was released. The Federal judge ruled in favour of Fat Joe, stating that Elliott had signed away his rights to “All the Way Up” and could not sue even if he had later become unhappy with the sum he received. It was also accepted by the Plaintiff that there was no dispute in relation to the fact that he had signed the agreement. It was claimed that Fat Joe promised to pay a larger compensation later but the Plaintiff was unable to prove the same. Therefore, was not entitled to receive any kind of additional compensation.
Snap sues USPTO to trademark the word ‘Spectacles’
The company has been trying to trademark the word SPECTACLES for its digital eyewear camera device for the past 5 years which has been rejected by the USPTO stating that the word is a generic term for smart glasses and that Snap’s version has not acquired distinctiveness. Snap as a defense claims that SPECTACLES is suggestive of the camera’s purpose, to capture and share unusual, notable, or entertaining scenes and that there has been enough media coverage of the mark and marketing including social media to support its claim that consumers associate the word “Spectacles” with the Snap brand. Presently the company has initiated a suit against USPTO for refusing to trademark its self- acclaimed distinct mark ‘SPECTACLES’.
Hamdard National Foundation (India) & Anr. v. Sadar Laboratories Pvt. Limited
The Plaintiffs are engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling Unani and Ayurvedic medicines, oils, syrups, and non-alcoholic beverages for over 100 years and the defendant is also engaged in the business of manufacturing Unani medicines, syrups and botanical products. The present case has been filed on the ground that the defendant was not only infringing the well-known trademark of the plaintiffs in ‘Hamdard’ and ‘Rooh Afza’ but was also passing off its products as those of the plaintiffs by using the name ‘Dil Afza’. The plaintiffs claim that they had acquired immense reputation and goodwill in relation to ‘Rooh Afza’ and that heavy promotional expenses have been incurred by the plaintiffs. It is further claimed that the word ‘Rooh Afza’ was used in several products of the plaintiffs and that the product of the plaintiffs sold under the trademark ‘Rooh Afza’ has a unique colour combination, layout, get-up and arrangement of features, particularly a unique and distinct floral arrangement. It is alleged that in 2020, the plaintiffs came to know that the defendant had issued an advertisement launching its syrup, bearing the mark ‘Dil Afza’ in deceptively similar ringlet bottles as that of the ‘Rooh Afza’ bottle. It is submitted by the Plaintiff that the defendant had with mala fide intention, adopted a deceptively similar mark, get-up, and design for its product. The defendant claimed that there was a great difference between the words ‘Dil’ and ‘Rooh’, one meaning ‘heart’ and the other ‘spirit’ and that no class of consumers would be misled into believing that the product of the defendant was somehow connected to that of the plaintiffs and that there could be no confusion between the product of the defendant, namely, ‘Dil Afza’ and the product of the plaintiffs, namely, ‘Rooh Afza’ also on account of the get-up, layout and labelling of the two products. The court stated that the similarity is sought on the ground that ‘Dil’ and ‘Rooh’ entail deep emotions and that the word ‘Afza’ is common to both and that there cannot be a confusion being created on account of the meaning of the two words. It was ruled that no case has been made out to restrain the defendant from marketing its sharbat under the name ‘Dil Afza’.
Hero Electric has moved to court seeking an injunction against Hero MotoCorp for using the brand name for its upcoming EV’s
Pawan Munjal, the promoter and chairman of Hero MotoCorp was barred from using the ‘Hero’ brand name for any electric vehicles, according to a 2010 family settlement, while the global rights for Hero’s EVs were given to Vijay Munjal who owns Hero Electric and was also stated that any violation of the settlement would result in “legal action”. Presently, Hero Electric has moved to the court because Hero MotoCorp is preparing to debut a line of electric scooters and motorbikes, as well as a new sub-brand called VIDA. The fact to be noted here is that, MotoCorp has not used the brand name HERO thus does not amount to infringement which only amounts to a different branding. It is expected and stated by the Associates of the parties that they would have to find a middle ground and settle this outside of court and that they won’t be able to launch a new product until the disagreement is settled, as the other party may place a stay on the proceedings.
Inventio Ag And Anr vs Schneider Elevator India Pvt. Ltd
The battle is for the rights of the marks SCHINDLER registered by the Plaintiff and SCHNEIDER ELEVATOR belonging to the defendant. The plaintiff had obtained numerous registrations for the trademark SCHINDLER and various other marks comprising of the term SCHINDLER in more than 150 countries across the world and the plaintiff also obtained registrations for trademark and variants thereof under several classes in India. It is claimed that the oldest registration of plaintiffs’ iconic device / logo was registered in India since 1990 in class 7 and the word mark SCHINDLER is registered in India since 1993 in class 7. It is further claimed by the plaintiff that the defendant sought registration of SCHNEIDER ELEVATOR in class 37 claiming use since 2011. The said application was refused by the Trademark Registry. Later the defendant filed a trademark application for logo under in class 37 which is claimed as an attempt to pass off as it uses the same color scheme of the Plaintiff’s registered marks. It is also alleged in the year 2018 the defendant started operating as Schneider Elevator Pvt Limited and in September 2020 the plaintiff came to know about the malicious activities of defendant. According to the Plaintiff, a cease and desist letter was issued by the plaintiff to the defendant apprising the defendants about the Plaintiffs Intellectual Property Rights and highlighting the unauthorized use thereof which was not responded to and later the Plaintiffs issued a warning letter to the Defendants alleging unfair competition and asked the defendants to remove all false assertions from their website. The Defendants were also asked to refrain from reproducing Plaintiffs website, brochure, technical drawings, and any other related materials. It is stated that the Defendants did not comply with the requisitions as set out in the warning letter issued by the plaintiffs due to which the Plaintiffs have initiated the suit. The Court stated that the plaintiffs have a prima facie case and the balance of convenience also lies in their favour and if the defendants are not restrained from using the trademark, the plaintiffs shall suffer irreparable loss and injury.
USPTO Awards Accenture $87M Contract for TMPL
The USPTO has awarded a seven-year contract to Accenture Federal Services to help streamline the trademark process through supporting and enhancing its Trademark Product Line. This product line management would include the whole lifecycle in relation to the Trademark from filing to registration and the other stages involved in the same. Thus the aim of involving AFS into the system is to ensure that the systems and technologies involved in the IP Process are being enhanced and more innovations are included and developed into the USPTO portfolio.
Tarantino Insists on NFT Sale Despite Copyright Lawsuit
Based on the screenplay of his original work ‘Pulp Fiction’, Quentin Tarantino released his Non- Fungible Token (a form of Crypto) for which the distributers of the film have filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement as the event was not discussed with them. The rights of the film are still owned by the distributors and the director not consulting before introducing the NFT is the spark behind the lawsuit. Despite the suit Tarantino states that he intends to go ahead with the NFT sale, even though Miramax claims that it holds the rights needed to develop, market, and sell NFTs relating to the film.
Vardhman Music Company accused of Copyright infringement
Simran Goraya, lyricist has filed a complaint against Vardhman Music Company for infringement of the Copyright of the song Shoot Da Order and has claimed that the song was used in a film without his consent. It is also stated that VMC had sold the song to MP3 Music Company without his knowledge. The complaint is filed on the grounds that sale and usage of the song without the Lyricist’s knowledge and consent amounts to copyright infringement.
Nike files lawsuit against Lululemon for Patent infringement
Nike has filed a lawsuit accusing Lululemon of patent infringement in relation to the Mirror Home Gym and related applications, which the company claims to bear similarities to its own patented digital sport applications. Nike claims that 6 of its patents have been infringed which are technologies designed to track user performance for decades which are now being copied by Lululemon which is denied by Lulu and as a defense states that it does not believe that Nike’s patents are relevant to its Mirror product and associated applications.
Sonos v. Google patent battle
The U.S. International Trade Commission affirmed an August decision that Google Audio Products infringed 5 Sonos Patents and banned Google from importing Networked Speaker Devices and other devices that can control them like mobile phones and laptops. The products that infringe on all the 5 patents at issue include the Google Nest smart speakers, Pixel phones, and the Chromecast streaming device. It is pertinent to mention here that Sonos had initiated another lawsuit against Google in relation to similar patent infringements back in 2020 which is yet to be decided, while Google states that they do not expect this judgment to impact their ability to import or sell their products.
Exclusive Copyright deals not allowed in China
China’s copyright authority has announced that digital music platforms are barred from signing exclusive copyright agreements except in special circumstances which is sparked by the monopolistic behavior in the country’s technology private sector. The National Copyright Administration of China had attended a meeting with influential digital music platforms in the country, as well as record and songwriting copyright companies after which the ban on exclusive copyright deals was announced.
Rejection of the registration of “Huawei Phoenix” Scientific instrument trademark
The Chinese mobile maker Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. had applied for the registration of the mark “Huawei Phoenix” and the evaluation of the same found that it accounted for many similar trademarks. It was stated that the concurrence of use or indistinguishable goods may easily perplex the public’s thoughts and the proof submitted by the applicant was inadequate to prove the applied trademark heavily. It is pertinent to mention here that certain variants of the Huawei Phoenix marks under different classes have already been registered.