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IPR weekly Highlights (30)

8 (Demo)
TRADEMARK
DELHI HIGH COURT DIRECTS SWIGGY, ZOMATO TO DELIST 13 RESTAURANTS OVERLAPPING WITH DOMINO’S TRADEMARK

Recently, the Delhi High Court issued directives to food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato, directing them to remove and delist links associated with 13 restaurants accused of appropriating the trademark of Domino’s Pizza and selling their products through these platforms within a week. The action was consequent to a trademark infringement suit filed by Domino’s Pizza. The restaurants were operating under names like “Domics Pizza”, “Dominick Pizza”, “Domnick Pizza”, “Dominic’s Pizza”, and similar variations. The aforesaid restaurants were ordered to cease using these marks. The Court held that the injunction against these restaurants would be effective from June 1, 2024, to facilitate them time to revise their tradenames and trademarks.

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TRADEMARK
DELHI HC RESTRAINS REAL ESTATE COMPANY FROM INFRINGING TAJ’S VIVANTA TRADEMARK

In a recent trademark infringement case, the Plaintiff, a part of the TATA group of Companies was engaged in the hospitality industry and had registered the trademarks “VIVANTA”, and “VIVANTA BY TAJ”. These trademarks covered a variety of services related to motels, hotels, resorts, restaurants, and related services. The defendant, a real estate company offered luxury flats under the name “VIVANTA”. The Plaintiff, thus filed a trademark infringement suit against the defendant for usage of an identical and similar mark “VIVANTA”. Resultantly, the Court restrained the defendants from using the trademark. The Court while deciding the instance case stated that such usage of a mark was identical and overlapping with one another. Thus, this could lead consumers to mistakenly believe that the defendant’s services were related to or endorsed by the plaintiff, thereby causing irreparable harm to the plaintiff’s business interests and diluting the distinctive character of their trademark.

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TRADEMARK
TESLA INC. SUES INDIAN BATTERY MAKER ‘TESLA POWER’ FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

In an interesting, recent judgment, Elon Musk’s Electric vehicle (EV) giant Tesla Inc. has initiated a legal action against Gurgaon-based battery seller Tesla Power India Pvt. Ltd for infringing its trademark, ‘Tesla”. During the proceedings, Tesla contended that Tesla Power’s use of the trademark in India was creating confusion and potentially harming its business interests as consumers are buying Tesla Power assuming it to be Tesla Inc. Further, it is alleged that Tesla Power also advertises as an EV company in newspapers, thus promoting the business under the same name.
The Delhi High Court held that Tesla Power has been operating since 2020 and thus shall be provided an adequate opportunity to be heard. Consequently, the court has granted the Indian firm three weeks to file a written response

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TRADEMARK
DELHI HC RESTRAINS AN UNAUTHORISED GROUP FROM USING TRADEMARK “MONEYCONTROL” CREATING CONFUSION AMONG CONSUMERS

In interesting, the Delhi High Court has restrained an unauthorized group offering financial investment tips from using the Network18 trademark “MONEYCONTROL” citing the potential of misleading imprudent customers. The decision was consequent to a legal dispute of trademark infringement initiated by the Plaintiff. Plaintiff provided its services to the public via its website “www.moneycontrol.com”, mobile applications, and social media channels. The plaintiff has acquired registrations for the trademark “Moneycontrol” and its variations,

including “Moneycontrol+”, “Moneycontrol Plus”, and “moneycontrol.com” in copious classes pertaining to financial affairs, digital platforms and applications for finance, etc. Plaintiff received complaints related to unsolicited messages sent to the public by Defendants who claimed to be employees of Plaintiff. They invited people to join the WhatsApp group titled for stock market trading tips, insights, etc.
Consequently, the Court held that the Defendants had unauthorisedly used Plaintiff’s registered mark and other formative trademarks, in the guise of providing financial investment services. This has misled and confused the public regarding the source of these services. The Court after giving some directions as to the concerned mobile numbers, listed the matter for the next hearing.

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TRADEMARK
CHINESE COURT ORDERS BURBERRY $800K WIN OVER ‘BANEBERRY’ INFRINGER

In 2020 a trademark infringement case was filed by the renowned brand Burberry against Baneberry accusing the company of marketing and sale of products bearing trademarks that infringe its word mark, check pattern, and equestrian logo on Tmall and WeChat, as well as via a “wide-spreading network of over forty pop-up stores” in shopping malls and outlets in large Chinese cities, which “caused confusion among a large number of consumers.”
Initially, in January 2021 a preliminary injunction was granted. Consequently, Xinboli Trading was required to cease its use pendente lite. While deciding the matter the Court inspected the lookalike product tags/packaging, and held that a grant of urgent injunction was required to mitigate the creation of confusion. Baneberry used the impugned trademark for a period of five years.
In finality, a second instance judgment was declared by the Jiangsu Provincial High People’s Court, wherein it upheld Burberry’s earlier preliminary injunction in 2021 against the defendant. An amount of RMB 6m (£675,668) was awarded as damages. It is noteworthy that during the proceedings, 5,000 pages of evidence were assembled where the damages were calculated by the total number of infringements, level of malicious intent, and the severity of the infringement.

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PATENT
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ORDERED TO PAY $23.4M FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT

In 2015, a legal battle emerged between Activision Blizzard and Acceleration Bay. The dispute revolved around the infringement of patents of networking and broadcasting allegedly used in Activision’s multiplayer games, particularly World of Warcraft and two Call of Duty titles. In May 2024, The US District Court found Activision Blizzard guilty and levied a hefty fine of $23.4 million (18 million for unauthorized use of the patents in World of Warcraft and an additional $5.4 million for similar infringements in two Call of Duty titles).

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COPYRIGHT
‘SHARK TANK INDIA’ ISSUES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT NOTICE TO STARTUPS

The makers of the business reality TV show Shark Tank India have issued a legal notice to one of its contestants, Dorje Tea a subscription-based tea brand. Agitated by the notice, the entrepreneur took to his LinkedIn and shared his torment contending he was served notice for using clips from their pitch on YouTube and Meta ads. He further added that several other brands have been issued similar notices. Furthermore, he posted that irrespective of the copyright laws supporting Shark Tank’s actions, the start-ups spend lacs monthly to boost Shark Tank content, thereby giving free publicity to the former.

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COPYRIGHT
NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS PROCURE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MICROSOFT, OPENAI FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Eight US newspaper publishers have initiated a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI, alleging the unauthorized generation of its articles in their AI models (ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot). The publishers contend that this deprives them of potential revenue and fails to direct users to their websites, impacting their advertising and subscription models. Further, the lawsuit claims that Microsoft uses information from their newspapers without providing links to the original articles. The newspaper publishers include New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, The Mercury News in California, and The Denver Post.

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COPYRIGHT
ILAIYARAAJA’S ISSUES COPYRIGHT NOTICE TO COOLIE MAKERS OVER DISCO SONG

Recently, renowned filmmaker Lokesh Kanagaraj announced “Coolie,” featuring the iconic star Rajinikanth. The filmmaker released the teaser for the forthcoming project comprising of background music which has been reprogrammed by Anirudh Ravichander, originally composed by Ilaiyaraaja for the 1983 film Thanga Magan. Pursuantly, Ilaiyaraaja has sent a message alleging unauthorized use of the song to the production house for the background track Disco (originally titled Vaa Vaa Pakkam Vaa in Thanga Magan).
Further, he has requested the makers to get proper permission or remove the song from the teaser. Furthermore, Ilaiyaraaja cautioned that if the makers are unable to take appropriate action, he will take legal recourse against them.

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