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IPR weekly Highlights (28)

8 (Demo)
TRADEMARK
EUIPO REJECTS REGISTRATION FOR THE MARK ‘PABLO ESCOBAR’

Pablo Escobar’s older, Roberto Escobar, has attempted to trademark the name ‘Pablo Escobar’ with the European Union Intellectual Property Office in 2021. Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug lord, narcoterrorist and politician, as well as the founder of the Medellin Cartel, because of which the application was rejected based on the reasoning that the consumers would associate the name ‘Pablo Escobar’ with Narco-terrorism, drug trafficking and drug cartels. Roberto stated that he sought protection for the name ‘Pablo Escobar’ which he intends to use on consumer goods and other products including “Everything from clothing to makeup”. The General Court of the European Court of Justice also denied the appeal filed by Roberto Escobar. due to the widespread association of Escobar as having been involved in various criminal activities including narco-terrorism.

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TRADEMARK
THE OSMANIA UNIVERSITY ARTS COLLEGE BUILDING FAÇADE SET TO BE TRADEMARKED

The façade of the Arts College at Osmania University, Hyderabad, is set to be trademarked, granting the University the exclusive right to use the trademark to market any goods and services under the same. This step came after the University Officials came to realise that a lot of other private institutions were using the iconic façade as a part of their own marketing and promotional material despite being unrelated to the University. These infringements came in the form of logos, souvenirs, merchandise and so on. Once the registration is processed, the building image for marketing of services and branding for commercial usage, such as on clothing, souvenirs, merchandise and so on by a third party shall not be allowed without prior permission of the University. The famous façade was designed by the Belgian architect Ernest Jasper, who blended the Mughal architectural style with Mamluk architectural elements.

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TRADEMARK
REGISTRAR CALCUTTA HIGH COURT UPHOLDS THAT ‘SILK’ TO DENOTE A PAINT FINISH IS CUSTOMARY AND CAN NOT BE PROTECTED AS A TRADEMARK

In an interesting, recent judgement, the Calcutta High Court upheld the order by a single bench stating that the word ‘silk’ when used to indicate the finishing of paint is customary to the trade, and thus, cannot be trademarked. Berger, the Appellants in the present case, raised the contention that that they owned the registrations for the word ‘silk’ since the year 1980 which was used in relation to its paints and related products. They raised an issue with the use of ‘silk’ by JSW Paints with respect to identical goods, and thus, constituting infringement. The Respondents, on the other hand, contended that they were using the word ‘silk’ in relation to their products sold under their established brand ‘HALO’ as a descriptive term in order to denote the finish or sheen of the paint once applied. They also argued that they used several other descriptive terms in a similar manner such as ‘Matt’, ‘Satin’ and ‘Gloss’. In the present appeal, the Court noted that the word ‘silk’ on the tumbler of the product should denote a description of the product, but when it is so enjoined with the trademark or trade name of a product, it may result in passing off of the goods of one as those of another. Thus, the appeal was dismissed by the Court, with it further being stated that the Appellant’s right to exclusivity over the word ‘silk’ in relation to its goods shall be determined at trial.

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TRADEMARK
COGNIZANT PREVENTED FROM USING TRADEMARK LOGO AS PER ORDER OF BOMBAY HIGH COURT

The Bombay High Court has temporarily barred Cognizant Technology Solutions from using its new trademark logo in India, citing similarities to Atyati Technologies Pvt Ltd’s logo. Justice Bharati Dangre issued the order, noting a prima facie case and the balance of convenience favoring Atyati. The court’s decision mandates Cognizant to refrain from using the logo in India until further notice. Atyati argued that Cognizant’s logo closely resembled theirs and could lead to confusion. The court recognized Atyati’s strong case, stating that Cognizant’s logo is almost identical or deceptively similar to Atyati’s registered marks.

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PATENT
FERRARI FILES PATENT FOR HYDROGEN-POWERED INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE

Ferrari has filed a patent for a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine, indicating its interest in maintaining combustion engines amidst stricter emissions regulations, unlike hydrogen fuel cells, which produce electricity to power motors, hydrogen combustion engines burn hydrogen directly, emitting no carbon dioxide. Though the engine would emit minimal pollutants and concerns about hydrogen production’s carbon footprint persist.

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PATENT
US SUPREME COURT REJECTS VANDA PHARMACEUTICALS’ BID TO REVIVE SLEEP DISORDER PATENT OVER HETLIOZ

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Vanda Pharmaceuticals’ attempt to revive patents for its sleep-disorder drug Hetlioz, previously invalidated in a dispute with Teva and Apotex. The Court declined to review the case, leaving intact a ruling against Vanda by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Vanda argued that the Federal Circuit’s standard for patent invalidation diverged from Supreme Court precedent. Teva welcomed the decision, while
Apotex did not comment immediately. The dispute began when U.S. District Judge Colm Connolly ruled Vanda’s patents invalid in 2022, a decision upheld by the Federal Circuit in 2023.

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COPYRIGHT
SHEIN FACES LAWSUIT FOR “INDUSTRIAL SCALE SYSTEMATIC COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT” USING AI

A lawsuit recently has accused Shein, the fashion brand, of an extensive scheme of digital copyright infringement, allegedly facilitated by AI. Artist Alan Giana contends that Shein copied and sold his artwork without permission, attributing it to a broader pattern of infringement integral to Shein’s business model. Giana asserts that Shein’s AI system scans the internet for popular designs, which are then reproduced without proper authorization. He further claimed that Shein monitors competitors and adjusts production based on market trends. Giana sought class action certification, injunctive relief, and damages. This case echoes similar concerns raised by independent designers in a previous lawsuit against Shein, highlighting the role of AI in the fashion industry’s rapid trend analysis and product development.

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(1) Giana v. Shein Distribution Corp, 1:24-cv-02599 (SDNY)
DESIGN
CORE PRODUCTS LIMITED REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH ENGLAND-BASED COMPANY ‘FURNISH WITH STYLE’ IN DESIGN INFRINGEMENT CASE

Perth-based furniture firm Core Products Ltd celebrates legal victory with a settlement against English company Furnished With Style and affiliates over design infringement. Core’s “Augusta Range” was at the center of the dispute, which led to the removal of infringing products. Core previously succeeded against Mercers Furniture Limited for a similar infringement. Their Augusta range features real wood and antique wax finish with hairpin legs. The infringing ‘Enkel’ range of products was ultimately withdrawn. The details of the settlement remain confidential. The proceedings were initially defended, but ultimately compromised on terms that remain confidential between the parties.

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