“VISTARA”- LIMITED POSSIBILITY
Vistara Airlines recently sued Vistara Home Appliances for trademark infringement and passing-off before Delhi High Court. The Division Bench overturned the trial court’s ruling, the Division Bench was of the opinion that the defendant’s adoption of the mark was in bad faith and constitutes both passing off and infringement. The bench while deciding, primarily relied on the fact that the trademark “Vistara” owned by the airline (plaintiff) is now categorized as a well-known mark. Secondly, the plaintiff was the prior user of the mark “Vistara” and the defendant had knowledge of the same while using the mark for its business. Thirdly, the court observed that the defendant’s mark is phonetically similar to the plaintiff’s mark, making it very likely that the general public will be confused. As a result, the court came to the conclusion that the issue at hand did not include dilution of the mark but rather confusion between the two marks in the minds of the general public.
SHEMAROO AND T-SERIES TO SHARE MOVIE RIGHTS
Sony Shermaroo filed a lawsuit against T-Series claiming that Shemaroo was the exclusive owner of the audio-visual content of certain films that T-Series had uploaded on their YouTube channel. Shemaroo contended that in the year 1985-90 various assignment deeds were executed in favor of Super Cassettes, and only audio rights were granted to T-Series. Further Shemaroo contended that between the years 2004-16 different producers of the films executed assignment deeds in favour of Shemaroo granting them exclusive rights. Shemaroo argued that now they are the only, exclusive, and absolute owners of the films, including the negative rights to the films, and that they have all the necessary paperwork and assignment deeds executed in their favor. On the other side, T-Series claimed to have rights in terms of the agreements executed in their favor by the original producers/owners of the films mentioned in the suit by Shemaroo. After listening to both parties, the Bombay High Court refused to grant an interim injunction to Shemaroo as they were not able to make out a strong prima facie case.
T-Series winning streak
T-Series and Hungama Digital Media received interim relief from the Bombay High Court in their copyright assignment case against Reliance Big Entertainment. When Reliance terminated the Long Form Agreement with T-Series, a disagreement between the companies over movie titles resulted. Independent assignment agreements between the parties were signed for 9 of the movie titles referenced in the lawsuit; the Long Form Agreement’s termination had no bearing on the assignment of those 9 movie titles. T-Series was able to establish a strong prima facie case in its favor. The Court further observed that termination of the Agreement does not mean that the rights are automatically re-assigned to Reliance. Copyright re-assignments must be properly documented in writing in accordance with Section 19 of the Indian Copyright Act of 1957, and both parties must abide by the agreement’s termination provisions.
Marvel has agreed to drop the lawsuit with prejudice against four artists, Larry Lieber, and heirs of Don Heck, Gene Colan, and Don Rico who were attempting to reclaim copyright interest in superheroes they jointly developed, including Ant-Man, Iron-Man, and Captain Marvel. A creator may, under certain conditions, terminate a copyright assignment after decades under the US Copyright Act. The writers and illustrators of Marvel comics from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were sued by Marvel after they attempted to cancel and regain the copyrights for a number of superheroes. Marvel’s main arguments were that the artist’s work was made for hire and that they lacked the right to reclaim the copyrights.
PROTECTION OF PLANT VARIETIES AND FARMER RIGHTS
REGISTRAR OVER CIVIL COURTS
On June 09, 2023, the Calcutta High Court ruled that, as far as determining the legality of a plant variety’s registration under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer Rights Act, 2001, is concerned, the civil court lacks jurisdiction. This observation was made by the Calcutta High Court Bench with a Coram of Justice IP Mukherji and Justice Biswaroop Choudhury in the matter of Pan Seeds Pvt Ltd vs Ramnagar Seed Farm Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. The bench added in its observation that no the civil court has the authority to contest the legality of a plant variety registration under the act, even if a prima facie case for legality is presented to the court, and that the Registrar designated under the aforementioned Act shall have sole discretion to register, alter, rectify, or cancel the plant variety registration on the grounds of invalidity.