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IPR weekly Highlights (29)

8 (Demo)
TRADEMARK
BOMBAY HIGH COURT HALTS TRAMPOLINE PARK’S MISUSE OF MR. BEAN TRADEMARK

Recently, the Bombay High Court issued a temporary restraining order against Lonavala Trampoline Park for unauthorized usage of the Mr. Bean trademark, artwork, and character, from the renowned UK comedy series. While dealing with the instant case, the Court scrutinized the Court analyzed the similarities between the UK-registered trademark and the alleged trademark under the trampoline park. The legal battle was initiated when a lawsuit was filed by Tiger Aspect Kids & Family Ltd. against Mr. Bean Trampoline Park in Lonavala. The plaintiff contended trademark infringement and passing off of goodwill.
Consequently, the Court barred the trampoline park from engaging in any commercial activities that would infringe the Mr. Bean trademark.

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TRADEMARK
HEIFER PROJECT SECURES PERMANENT INJUNCTION AGAINST HEIFER PROJECT INDIA TRUST IN TRADEMARK DISPUTE

In the instance case a Heifer Project International-Plaintiff filed a suit seeking a permanent injunction against the defendants, for using deceptively similar and identical trademarks. The plaintiff had invented a unique corporate name ‘Heifer’ along with a device mark. Subsequently, Plaintiff adopted two trademarks ‘Heifer International’ and ‘Heifer Project’ regarding its activities. Plaintiff permitted Defendant to utilize the ‘Heifer’ and ‘Heifer Project’ names and associated logos. However, this sanction was conditional upon a broad agreement that the Defendant could utilize these trademarks only if they operated in harmony with the plaintiff’s mission and facilitated the plaintiff’s activities within India. In return, the Defendants were obligated to regularly report on the progress and financial details of the projects.
However, the defendants deviated from their contractual obligations and consequently, the plaintiff suspended all the project funding. Plaintiff explicitly instructed the Defendants to forbid the use of the trademarks, however the same was not complied by Defendant. The Court opined that the Defendants had infringed the trade name, and corporate identity as they continued using the trademark even after clear instructions.
The Court opined that the present case was a classic instance of ‘triple identity the impugned trademarks were nearly identical, similar in the areas of operation, and the segments of the public they targeted.

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TRADEMARK
GOOGLE REALFILL: AN AI-POWERED IMAGE COMPLETION MODEL SPOTTED IN TRADEMARK LISTING

In an interesting case, Google is prepared to reinvent the landscape of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven image generation with its newest innovation, RealFill. This technology guarantees to bring user-focused applications to the vanguard of AI development. Recently, a research paper and the website RealFill have been unveiled online which prowess in image completion and painting based on reference images and creates a target image. Further, Google has tightened its commitment to RealFill by applying trademarks for its distinct logo, signalling a firm dedication to this AI-driven product.
Notably, trademark applications filed by Google LLC with the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) underscore the tech giant’s intent to commercialize this groundbreaking technology.

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TRADEMARK
NIKE SETTLES TRADEMARK CASE AGAINST BAPE OVER SHOE DESIGNS

Nike had accused Japanese fashion brand A Bathing Ape, also known as BAPE, of illegally copying the its signature footwear designs. Subsequently, Nike filed a lawsuit in New York federal court. Nike claimed that BAPE’s footwear business “revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs,” and that some of its shoes are “near verbatim” copies of Nike’s Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, and Dunk sneakers. However, the joint filing stated that both the parties have signed an agreement and have terminated their dispute

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PATENT
DATANG ATTAINS VICTORY AGAINST SAMSUNG IN 4G SEP INFRINGEMENT DISPUTE

Datang Mobile Communications Equipment, which holds a significant portfolio of SEPs in the 4G and 5G space sued Samsung Electronics for patent infringement of EP 2 237 607. The patent encompasses cell handover procedures when a mobile phone enters a TDD radio cell. It is cardinal to the LTE/4G standard. In April 2024 the Munich Regional Court held that the 4-G mobile device services provided by Samsung led to patent infringement of the services rendered by Datang and thus, may not be able to sell 4G- capable mobile devices in Germany.
Additionally, in the course of the proceedings, Samsung had inter alia raised a FRAND defence and filed a competition law counter complaint; both of which failed. Consequently, the Munich Regional Court found Samsung to be an unwilling licensee.

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PATENT
TATA MOTORS’ OPPOSITION TO ASHOK LEYLAND’S PATENT-RECONSTITUTION OF OPPOSITION BOARD

A patent related dispute arose between Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland. Subsequently, the Controller constituted the Opposition Board and both the parties presented their evidence for recommendations. However, Ashok Leyland found the Board to have not contemplated the evidence in their correct perspective and therefore approached the Madras High Court for reconstitution. The single-bench judge dismissed the petition on the grounds that the appropriate authority for the aforesaid dispute is the Opposition Board and the Controller, thus, the Court had limited power of judicial review.
However, the Madras High Court Division Bench set aside the single-bench order on the grounds that in the instant matter it was debatable whether the opposition board had considered the evidence under Rules 58 & 59 of Patent Rules. Thus, the Division Bench ordered the reconstitution of the Opposition Board within a fortnight.

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COPYRIGHT
GOOGLE COMMITS TO NON-OWNERSHIP OF AI-GENERATED CONTENT

Recently, the ownership of Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) generated outputs has been one of the most controversial debates. While multiple discussion persists, in April, Google updated it Terms of Service pertaining to ownership of AI outputs. The company settled that it will not claim ownership of the contents generated by its AI models. Thus, this implies that any content generated by Google’s Generative AI platforms can be used by the customer as their own.

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COPYRIGHT
BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST IN ISKCON COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CASE

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust India (‘Plaintiff’) was a public printing, publishing, and distributing books, writings, and speeches of Srila Prabhupada the author/settlor of the trust. Srila Prabhupada was an exponent of Vedic literature, and relinquished his worldly possessions to become a sanyasi. He also established the ‘International Society for Krishna Consciousness’ (‘ISKCON’) and also delivered thousands of lectures, and wrote innumerable letters and books of his teachings. These books were used as the primary medium to propagate ISKCON, which eventually became a worldwide movement. The trust deed of the Plaintiff stated that it was entitled to the settlor/author copyright in his writings and publication rights of the writings. Srila Prabhupada passed away in November 1977 and the plaintiff proceeded to edit and format his manuscripts and speeches and published them as books. These publications achieved huge success, In December 2020, during an anti-piracy sweep, it transpired that certain website such as that of the defendant, www.friendwithbooks.co, were carrying complete copies of the books in which copyright was bestowed in the plaintiff.


Thus, the plaintiff filed the suit seeking a permanent injunction decree against the defendants to prevent copyright infringement under Section 14 (a) of the Copyright Act. In February, 2021 an ex-parte and interim injunction was passed against the defendants, restraining the website from reproducing any works. Subsequently, the defendants accepted the injunction. The Court thus, ruled in favour of the plaintiff as there was a clear assignment in favor of them by the deceased Srila Prabhupada.

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