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IPR weekly Highlights (27)

8 (Demo)
TRADEMARK
COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL SUES BREWERY FOR TRADEMARK AND TRADE DRESS INFRINGEMENT

Coachella Music Festival LLC has filed a trademark and trade dress infringement lawsuit against Coachella Valley Brewing Co. in the US District Court, alleging that the brewery has been using logos and advertising material, which are deceptively similar to those of the famous music festival. The music festival giant has prayed for an injunction against the brewery, to restrain them from using such deceptively and confusingly similar branding marks. The lawsuit claims that the brewery is attempting to confuse the public into thinking that they are associated with the music festival in some form and deriving benefits from the goodwill and reputation of the famous music festival. Some instances cited include the brewery’s depiction of a Ferris wheel with “Coachella” spelled out in a large font, and below, in a much smaller font, “Valley Brewing Co.” The Ferris wheel has been closely associated with the festival and has been used in its branding which, according to the plaintiffs is a clear reference to their festival. Further, the Desert Citrus Beer of the brewery used, in addition to the images of palm trees and mountains on a gradient background, which the plaintiff’s claim is highly similar to their own promotional material. The plaintiffs allege that the festival has several pre-existing sponsorships with several beer companies, which may be infringed as a result of the defendants.

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TRADEMARK
DELHI HC DECLARES ‘HALDIRAM’ TO BE A WELL-KNOWN TRADEMARK

The Delhi High Court has recently declared that the trademark “HALDIRAM” is a well-known trademark with respect to food items, restaurants and eateries, both domestically and internationally. This declaration came after a suit was filed by Haldiram India seeking protection for their tradename and its variations, and sought that their trademark and its variations be declared to be a well-known trademark. The Plaintiff’s also sought a permanent injunction to retrain an imitator from Haryana who was selling products with the mark ‘Haldiram Bhujiawala’. The Court held that the “HALDIRAM’ trademark has been in use since the 1960s, and has thus achieved the status of “well-known” trademark. The Court also imposed damages of Rs. 50 Lakh on the infringers and another Rs. 2 Lakh to be paid as costs by the infringer to Haldiram India.

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TRADEMARK
REGISTRAR CANNOT REFUSE TO RENEW MARK ON GROUNDS OF DELAY IF IT HAS NOT REMOVED FROM THE REGISTER

Recently, the Bombay High Court held that the Registrar of Trademarks cannot refuse the renewal of a trademark on grounds of delay if it has not been removed from the Register of Trade Marks after the issuance of a Notice of Removal under S. 25(3) of the Trademarks Act, 1999. In the present case, a writ petition was filed challenging the non-renewal of the plaintiff’s trademarks. The Court stated that it is mandatory for the Registrar to send a notice in the manner prescribed, providing the date of expiration, details about the payment of fees and so on. Only after the expiration of the notice period and if the conditions are still not met, then the Registrar would be authorized to remove the trademark from the Register. Further, it was observed that the non-issuance of a notice of removal implies that the proprietor still has the right to seek renewal.

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TRADEMARK
DELHI HIGH COURT RESTRAINS ASHIRVAD PIPES FROM USING SIMILAR TRADEMARKS TO JAQUAR

The Delhi High Court recently granted an interim injunction temporarily restraining Ashirvad Pipes from using identical marks to Jaquar’s Artize and Tiaara trademarks. The Court stated that failing to grant an interim injunction in the present case would infringe the intellectual property rights until the present suit is adjudicated. Jaquar claimed that Ashirwad was using marks such as ‘Artistry’, ‘Artistry by Ashirwad’ and ‘Tiara’ similar to Jaquar’s prior adopted and used marks. The plaintiff’s also contended that the products of both parties were alike, distributed through identical channels, and aimed at the same demographic, thus forming a basis for claims of infringement and misrepresentation. The defendant disputed these allegations, asserting that ‘Artize’ and ‘Artistry’ were ordinary English terms and that there was no misleading similarity when examining the competing trademarks in their entirety. It was further stressed that the defendant’s utilization of the term ‘Art’ was merely descriptive of the artistic nature of its goods and should not be subject to exclusive rights. Upon reviewing the arguments, the Court determined that a preliminary case of infringement had been demonstrated, citing the phonetic resemblance between the competing marks. It rejected the defendant’s assertion that ‘Tiara’ was not employed as a trademark and emphasized the deliberate nature of the infringement, particularly evident through the adoption of similar marks subsequent to the plaintiff’s mark gaining recognition. As a result, the Court issued the interim injunction, restraining the defendants from utilizing the contested marks and instructing their removal from all physical and digital platforms within their jurisdiction.

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TRADEMARK
DELHI HIGH COURT REFUSES TO REVOKE THE TRADEMARK OF KWIKHEAL

In a recent legal showdown between ‘Fevikwik’ and ‘Kwikheal’, the Delhi High Court delivered a verdict favoring the latter, dismissing ‘Fevikwik’s’ attempt to nullify the ‘Kwikheal’ trademark. Pidilite Industries Ltd., the parent company of ‘Fevikwik’, had lodged a plea for rectification under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, seeking the removal of ‘Kwikheal’ from the Trade Marks Register. Initially, the case was brought before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board but was redirected to the High Court after the IPAB’s dissolution in 2021. Despite ‘Fevikwik’s’ extensive presence in the market with trademarks like ‘FEVIKWIK’ and ‘FEVICOL’, the Court emphasized the importance of scrutinizing the dissimilarities between the trademarks. It underscored that the term ‘KWIK’ in ‘Kwikheal’ did not hold the dominant position in ‘Fevikwik’s’ brand identity. Additionally, the Court rejected the notion of relying on past legal findings from the Bombay High Court regarding ‘Kwikheal’s’ prior packaging, which had been updated since then. The verdict sheds light on the necessity of conducting an independent evaluation in trademark disputes and upholding the uniqueness and distinctiveness of each trademark. This ruling serves as a reminder of the complexities involved in trademark litigation and the importance of assessing each case on its own merits.

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TRADEMARK
WOW! MOMOS V/S WOW PUNJABI

The current application was submitted to seek a permanent injunction against the infringement of trademarks, passing off, unfair trade practices, rendition of accounts, and damages against the defendant, Wow Punjabi. Justice Anish Dayal issued an interim injunction against the defendant, Wow Punjabi, in the absence of their appearance. As per the injunction, the defendant and all parties acting on their behalf were prohibited from using, advertising, or dealing directly or indirectly in any goods or services under the defendant’s trademark ‘WOW’/’WOW PUNJABI’ or any other mark identical or deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s registered trademark. The plaintiff’s grievance stemmed from the defendant operating a restaurant or outlet under the ‘WOW’/’WOW PUNJABI’ trademark. The plaintiff contended that the defendant had adopted the essential and predominant features of the plaintiff’s ‘WOW’ trademark, including an identical trade dress with a yellow background, font style, and the letter “O” filled with red colour. The Court observed that the plaintiff had demonstrated a prima facie case for the grant of an interim injunction. It concluded that the balance of convenience favored the plaintiff and that the plaintiff was likely to suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was not granted. Consequently, an interim injunction was issued against the defendant until the next hearing date. As per the injunction, the defendant and all parties acting on their behalf were barred from using, advertising, or dealing directly or indirectly in any goods or services under the defendant’s trademark ‘WOW’/’WOW PUNJABI’ or any other mark identical or deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s registered trademarks ‘WOW’/’WOW! MOMO’.

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PATENT
JUDGE RULES IN FAVOUR OF SONY IN $ 500 MILLION PATENT INFRINGEMENT CASE

The Delaware Federal Court dismissed the $ 500 million patent infringement suit filed by Genuine Enabling Technology against Sony Corp. stating that there was a considerable lack of patent violation proof. This lawsuit alleged that several of Sony’s devices, including the PS3 Console, the Dual Shock3 Controller, the PS4 Console and the DualShock 4 controller, and the move controller, which were designed for motion-control gameplay infringed upon Genuine Enabling’s ‘730 patent. It was further claimed that the PlayStation consoles and controllers communicate with one another via two separate signals, one on a ‘slow-varying frequency’ for any inputs via the buttons, and a higher frequency for any inputs via the motion control. The Defendants argued that there was no evidence to show that the components of their controllers were structurally equivalent to those in Genuine Enabling’s patent. The Court stated that the Plaintiffs had failed to raise a dispute of fact and closed the present case.

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COPYRIGHT
COPYRIGHT DISPUTE OVER NEVER BEFORE HEARD MUSIC OF MARVIN GAYE

A cache of around 30 tapes containing over 66 demos of new songs by Marvin Gaye was found in Belgium over 40 years after the artist’s death. The titular singer having undergone a tumultuous period in his personal life grappling with substance addiction, sought refuge with a friend, Charles Dumolin, a Belgian musician. His stay in Belgium allowed him to recover from his addiction, and he came back with one of his most massive hits, Sexual Healing. When leaving Belgium, Gaye left behind several demos and recording with Dumolin, stating that they could do whatever they wanted with them. Thus, as per Belgium law any property acquired, regardless of the means of such acquisition, becomes the property of the person in possession after a period of 30 years after acquisition. However, this law does not apply to intellectual property. This means that while the physical tapes themselves may belong to the heirs of Dumolin, the right to publish the songs does not necessarily lie with him. Thus, theoretically, it is possible for the rights to be held by the heirs of Gaye, but the ownership of the physical tapes being with the heirs of Dumolin.

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