BODHISATVA CHARITABLE TRUST RESTRAINED FROM USING “MAYO” MARK
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, a subsidiary of the charitable organization Mayo Clinic based in the US, had filed a trademark infringement suit against Bodhisatva Charitable Trust, an NGO established for disseminating medical education, for infringing on their mark “Mayo”.
The Court observed that the name “MAYO” was adopted and used first by Mayo Foundation in relation to hospitals and medical educational institutes and had gained a global reputation in the medical field. Therefore, the plaintiff’s mark was observed to have gained sufficient reputation and goodwill in India.
Finding the use of the same mark by the defendant in relation to the medical institutions founded by it to be a dishonest adoption, the Court observed that the defendant was attempting to ride on the goodwill of the Mayo Foundation and thereby made out a case of passing off.
Finding the balance of convenience to be in favor of the plaintiff, the Court observed the use of the mark “Mayo” by the defendant was likely to cause confusion and cause irreparable injury to the plaintiff’s reputation, and therefore passed an order restraining the defendant from using the mark “Mayo” or any name or mark deceptively similar to it.
(1) Mayo Foundation for Medical Education & Research v. Bodhisatva Charitable Trust & Ors. I.A. 22385/2022 in CS(COMM) 920/2022
MAISON MARGIELA’S NUMERIC TRADEMARK REJECTED
In 2021, Maison Margiela, the luxury brand, applied for the registration of a trademark consisting of a sequence of numbers from 0 to 23 for candles, lighting apparatus, household utensils and contains, and retail and wholesale services connected with bleaching, preparations, perfumes, etc.
However, the application was rejected by the examiner on the grounds of Article 7(1)(b) of Regulation 2017/1001 (EUTMR) which states that a trademark devoid of any distinctive character shall not be registered.
Maison Margiela appealed against this decision, contending that according to case law, signs exclusively containing numbers and with no graphic modifications could be registered as trademarks. It was also the brand’s belief that the public would, instead of perceiving the mark as a mere enumeration but rather a specific sequence of numbers placed in separate lines one over the other.
The EUIPO First Board of Appeal observed that the distinctiveness of a trademark was to be assessed by considering the goods or services for which the registration was made and the public’s perception of the mark. The Board thus found that a large sequence of numbers was likely to not be noticed by consumers and could not denote a specific commercial origin. The Board of Appeal, therefore, upheld the examiner’s decision and dismissed the appeal.
DELHI HIGH COURT RESTRAINS ROGUE WEBSITES FROM STREAMING SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE
Sony Pictures Animation Inc, a creator of the hit animated movie “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse” which was released on June 02, 2023, found that several websites had advertised upcoming broadcasts of the film, despite not having given broadcasting rights to the film to any website. The company therefore filed a suit for copyright infringement against over a hundred rogue websites, seeking a permanent injunction from posting and streaming the movie.
The High Court of Delhi issued an interim relief order, restraining the websites from streaming the film, and further directed ISPs and Telecom service providers to block access to such websites, along with any mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites associated with them.
RELEASE NETFLIX SERIES SCOOP UNHINDERED BY THE PERSONALITY RIGHTS INFRINGEMENT SUIT
The Netflix series “Scoop” is based on the memoir “Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison” written by Jigna Vora, an accused who was acquitted in the case of death of a crime reported by Jyotirmay Dey.
Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, one of the ten convicts in the case, had filed a suit before the Bombay High Court against the producer Matchbox Shots LLP, writer Hansal Mehta, and Netflix India for defaming and infringing his personality rights. It is his contention that the trailer of the series refers to his name and image multiple times, and also wrongly portrays him (Chhota Rajan) as the main person responsible for the victim’s death. The plaintiff claimed that the makers of the show intended to obtain profits by creating sensation using his name and image, as the names of other persons have been changed except for his name.
Therefore, the plaintiff is seeking an injunction against the defendants, seeking removal from the trailer from Netflix and other platforms, and restraining the defendants from making references to his image, name, or personality. He has also sought damages of Re. 1/- and an apology to be published in a major newspaper stating his image, personality, and reputation were used without consent.
The Court, however, refused to direct Netflix to take down the series and adjourned the date.
ATOMBERG CEILING FAN DENIED INTERIM RELIEF, FACES THREAT OF DESIGN REGISTRATION CANCELLATION
Atomberg Technologies Pvt. Ltd. had filed a suit against Luker Electric Technologies Pvt. Ltd. for copying the design of the Atomberg Renesa ceiling fans for which they had obtained registration in 2018. The plaintiff claimed that the registrations obtained by the defendant with respect to the designs of “Size Zero Fan 1” and “Size Zero Fan 2” were obtained in a fraudulent manner as the designs infringed on the registered design of the plaintiff.
The defendant contended that the plaintiff failed to divulge material facts, such as the fact that the design registered by the plaintiff was published in the public domain already by the plaintiff itself.
The Court referred to Section 4 and observed that no registration could be made for a design which is not new or original, or already available in the public domain. Furthermore, any registration, if granted, could be cancelled on the same grounds under Section 19 as the value of the registration becomes diluted if it was published before the date of registration.
Therefore, the Bombay High Court observed that the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of infringement, and therefore did not grant interim relief. On the contrary, the Court observed that the registration of the plaintiff itself may be subject to prohibition and cancellation as per Section 19(b) of the Designs Act, 2000.
PATENT INFRINGEMENT SUIT FILED AGAINST STARBUCKS, TACO BELL, MCDONALD’S
Tiare Technology Inc. is a software maker with US Patent No. 8,682,729, 10,157414, and 11,195224 relating to wireless ordering systems. Earlier in December, 2022, the company began against fast-food chains and grocery stores such as Dunkin Donuts LLC, the Wendys Co, and the Kroger Co. for patent infringement relating to their mobile-ordering technology.
Now, the company has also initiated suits in the Texas federal Court against household names such as Starbucks, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s and accused them of infringing the company’s online-ordering system patents which are capable of tracking the location of the user and improving order fulfillment experience.
UNITARY PATENT SYSTEM LAUNCHED IN EU; UNIFIED PATENT COURT COMMENCES OPERATION
On June 1, the European Patent Office finally launched the Unitary Patent System. The new system allows users to apply for a single Unitary patent for the 17 countries under the system through a single procedure, subject to only one renewal fee in a single currency. The new system therefore allows the users to file cases at the EU level and provides for a centralized litigation system by replacing the current system which requires parallel validation procedures in the IP authorities of each nation.
The Unified Patent Court came into operation and aims to serve as the center of patent litigation in Europe, having jurisdiction over infringement and revocation actions for both Unitary and classical European patents. The Court of First Instance has its headquarters in Paris, with a section based in Munich, and local and regional divisions spread across the EU member states. The Court of Appeal is based in Luxembourg.