New Updates

After a long standing dispute between West Bengal and Odisha, each laying claim to the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to India's most famous confectionery "Rasagolla", the G.I. Registry has finally presented the GI status to the "Banglar Rasogolla". West Bengal's application claimed that Rasagolla was invented in the Nadia district of Bengal and named the inventor of the confectionery as Haradhan, a confectioner from the village Phulia. After going through proper procedure, West Bengal was granted the tag on the 14th of November, 2017.

The stone sculptures at Mamallapuram have also been granted the G.I. tag. The sculptures are carved in stone with characteristics of intricate designs achieved through fine chiselling. The stone sculptures embody Pallava art and architecture and are in tune with the surrounding Pallava architectural influence. The description of the stone sculptures includes cave architecture, rock architecture, open sculptures, structural temples, relief sculptures and painting/ portrait sculptures.

The Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) has been re-registered as a copyright society on the 28th of November, 2017 under section 33(3) of the Copyright Act, 1957. The IPRS originally withdrew its application for re-registration in the year 2012, following the amendment of the Copyright Act, but continued to grant licenses to the owners of copyright works. It is expected that the re-registration of the society would make the process of granting licenses a lot smoother.

The Judges of the Court of Appeals reinforces a decision passed by the High Court in 2016, stating that the traditional "Black London Cab" is not a valid trademark due to the fact that it does not possess any distinctive character. The dispute arose from the fact that the London Taxi company (makers of the black cabs) believed that a rival company (Frazer-Nash) had substantially copied their design. This case follows very closely on the heels of another judgement wherein the Kit-Kat bar was denied a trademark owing to the fact that its shape was not distinctive enough. Several legal experts have used these cases as examples to show how difficult it is to obtain a trademark for a shape.

The GI Registry has recognised traditional Etikoppaka toys and has conferred the GI tag to the Etikoppaka Bommalu from Andhra Pradesh. These traditional toys are made by artisans in Etikoppaka village and the art of making these toys is supposed to be more than 400 years old. The art has been traditionally handed over generations. The toys are unique in shape and form and are made of wood and painted with natural dyes. The wood used us from "Ankudi Karra" tree that is soft in nature. The natural dyes are prepared from seeds, lacquer, bark, roots and leaves. They are unique as they do not have heavy metal or any toxic content in it.

Hon'ble Justice Mr. Manmohan Singh has assumed the additional charge of Chairman, IPAB, from January 1, 2018. Justice Mr. Manmohan Singh's stellar record in the legal field dates back to 1980, in which year he enrolled as an Advocate. His practice spans over Civil, Trade Mark and Copyright cases, among others, in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India. He was earlier appointed as the Additional Judge of the High Court of Delhi in April 2008 and subsequently retired in September 2016.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued its final rule towards setting/ adjusting certain patent fees, as authorised by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). However, any proposal to set or adjust fees for "filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents" as permitted by the AIA, the proposed fees will include a 50% reduction for small entities and a 75% reduction for micro entities as provided for in Section 10(b) of the AIA. Applicants qualifying for a small entity discount (50%) will be those who meet the "small entity" definition in 35 U.S.C. ยง 41(h)(1) and those qualifying for a micro entity discount (75%) will be applicants who meet the "micro entity" definition outlined in Section 11(g) of the AIA.


Case Updates

Nestle had filed an Application seeking to restrain Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union (Defendants) from infringing the mark "A+" to which Nestle claims to have acquired trademark rights from the original Trademark Proprietor M/s. Ajit Singh Om Prakash Ltd., in view of the trademark registration no. 1328432 in class 29, vide an assignment deed dt. 26-08-11. Upon the launch of the product "Nestle A+" Milk and Dahi on 1-12-11, the Defendants sent a cease and desist notice to Nestle, to which Nestle responded by contending that they were prior users of the mark. Owing to the fact that the Parties used the mark in question for two different products (Amul A+ Cheese by the defendants and Nestle A+ Milk and Dahi by Nestle) the Hon'ble Court passed an ex parte ad interim order on 30-05-12 directing both the parties to maintain the status quo of the mark with respect to the goods being manufactured. In view of the above, the High Court of Delhi has made the order passed on 30-05-12 absolute, and directed the parties to maintain the status quo during the pendency of the suit.

MSD had filed a suit for Patent Infringement against Aprica. MSD is among the world's leading Pharmaceutical companies and is also the proprietor of an Indian Patent which covers a product called "SITAGLIPTIN". The molecule is sold by MSD in India under the brand name "JANUVIA". Aprica is involved in a field of business similar to MSD and had announced a product called "ECOGLIPT" which happened to be a generic version of MSD's patented product. MSD filed this suit before the product had been launched, apprehending the infringement. The High Court of Delhi found that the acts of Aprica were in violation of Section 48 of the Patents Act, 1970 and also infringing the existing patent of MSD. The Court passed the Decree against Aprica and granted relief to MSD.

Samsung Electronics filed a case for copyright and trademark infringement and sought Permanent Injunction against D.R. Radio Corporation (Defendant) since they had been making unlicensed use of the trademarked oval "SAMSUNG" logo and the same font of the logo which is a registered copyright of Samsung. The High Court of Delhi was of the view that the Defendant's mark was identical to the trademark of Samsung and Section 28 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 confers exclusive rights upon Samsung in relation to the use of the mark. The Court found the Defendant to be infringing the rights of Samsung under Section 29(1) of the Trademarks Act. The Court passed a Decree against the Defendant and granted relief to Samsung.

Gold Peak Industries (Holdings) Limited ("Plaintiff") had filed a suit for trademark infringement, seeking the relief of Permanent injunction. Owing to the fact that Bharat Dhawan and Ors. ("Defendants") did not appear despite summons, the case was heard ex-parte, and the Plaintiff did not have to provide evidence by way of affidavit on the basis of the judgement passed in "Satya Infrastructure Ltd. & Ors. v. Satya Infra & Estates Pvt. Ltd." and the decree was passed based on the merits of the case, wherein the Plaintiff had very clearly established that it was in the business of manufacturing batteries under the trademark "GP" and used a unique style of packaging for the same which had come to be associated only with the Trademark. Later on they had changed their packaging to a new design, whereupon it came to the Plaintiff's attention that the Defendants had been manufacturing and selling batteries using the Plaintiff company's old packing design. Additionally, the rear part of the Defendant's packing indicates that they were a product of the Gold Peak group and a website "gpballeries.com" is also mentioned. The website was never owned by the Gold Peak group and the name was found to be an intentional attempt to deceive the public. Decree was passed by the Delhi High Court in favour of the Plaintiffs.

A suit for trademark infringement and copyright infringement was filed by RSPL Limited ("Plaintiff") and they sought the relief of permanent injunction. The Plaintiff established that they were in the business of making detergent powder in the name "GHARI", which they package using an easily recognizable packing design and label, with a tagline "Pehle Istemal Karen Phir Vishwas Karen". The defendants in the present case, S.K. Enterprises, produce a detergent powder by the name of "DHARI" and use an almost identical packaging and label design as the Plaintiff. Since the Defendants did not appear despite service, the Court proceeded ex-parte. The Plaintiff provided evidence that the trademark "GHARI" was indeed coined and registered by them and the same applied to their tagline as well. Furthermore, they also provided evidence that they were the registered copyright holders of the artistic work featured on their packaging. They also stated that GHARI detergent was the largest selling brand in its category, and therefore the infringement by the Defendants had caused them irreparable harm. The High Court of Delhi passed a decree against the Defendants and granted relief to the Plaintiffs on 27.11.2017.

Siemens Aktiengesellschaft ("Plaintiff") filed a suit for Permanent Injunction, alleging that Siemens Consultancy Services ("Defendant") had misused the Trademark "SIEMENS" as a trading name. Suit was served to the Defendant but they did not appear before the Court, owing to which the Court proceeded ex-parte against them. The Plaintiff had provided extensive details about their company and the trademark "SIEMENS" in their Plaint, also stating the importance in their trading name and also the various classes under which the same has been registered. The counsel for the Plaintiff stated that owing to the tremendous amount of goodwill that had been garnered by the Plaintiff over its many years of existence, the Defendant has attempted to confuse the public into believing that a relationship between the two parties existed/exists. The Plaintiff also stated that owing to the misuse of the Trademark, the reputation of the Plaintiff has been tarnished.

The evidence provided by the Plaintiff by way of Affidavit went unrebutted owing to which the suit was decreed in favour of the Plaintiff and the reliefs sought by them were granted on 28.11.17

The present suit was filed by Triumphant Institute of Management Education ("Plaintiff") to restrain Mahesh Yadav & Ors. ("Defendants") from violating rights in the Trademark "T.I.M.E." by way of injunction. The Plaintiff has claimed the relief of Injunction on the basis that the Defendants have been passing off the proprietary mark of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff has argued that it has created the mark by using the initials of its name which is "Triumphant Institute of management Education Pvt. Ltd." and is also the owner of the same. The Plaintiff is engaged in providing coaching for National Level Exams and pleads that they have around 244 centres. The Plaintiff also pleads that it became aware of the fact that the Defendants were using an identical Trademark "TIME", and were involved in providing the same coaching services, by way of a newspaper advertisement. Defendants did not appear in court after being served a suit, and proceedings were conducted ex-parte.

The Plaintiffs then filed affidavit by way of evidence and the High Court of Delhi held that the Plaintiffs had made out a case and established Trademark Infringement. The Decree was passed against the Defendants on 28.11.17 and they were restrained from using the mark in any manner and the Plaintiffs were also entitled to costs.