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IPR weekly Highlights (31)

8 (Demo)
TRADEMARK
DELHI HIGH COURT REJECTS FOREST ESSENTIAL’S PLEA FOR INTERIM RELIEF

Forest Essential’s request for an injunction against the usage of “Baby Forest” and “Baby Forest – Soham of Ayurveda” marks has been rejected by the Delhi High Court. The Court noted that firstly, since the term ‘forest’ is generic in nature, Mountain Valley Springs India Private Limited, could not claim dominance over its use, in lieu of not having separately registered a part of its trademark under Section 17(2) of the Trademark Act.

Secondly, Forest Essential sought to register the marks ‘Forest Essential Baby’ and ‘Forest Essentials-Baby Essentials’ only post the denial of interim relief in 2023. Thirdly, the court took note of the distinction in the packaging and logo of the two companies, as well as the nature of the products sold, that is, Baby Forest exclusively sells baby care products, while such products only form a part of Forest Essential’s market.

 Fourthly, the court concluded that the evidence presented was insufficient to show genuine confusion amongst the consumer base over a period of time, and that the mere possibility of a minor confusion cannot justify an injunction against Baby Forest.

Lastly, the court also commented upon the alert and cautious nature of the consumer base of baby products, i.e., parents and accordingly, the court rejected Forest Essential’s plea.

Reference: 

TRADEMARK
WEIZMANN TO APPROACH COURT AGAINST WESTERN UNION

The Mumbai-based Weizmann group has decided to take its former partner, Western Union Holdings to court over infringement of its trademark and for imitation of its logo. The company has claimed that its brand ‘W’ has been adopted and in use since 1985, with several of its variations also having been registered. The brand is the identity of the company through which it has earned immense goodwill and has also been used for promotion, marketing, and advertisement of its services. Accordingly, Weizmann has filed for cease and desist of both the online and offline use of the mark, destruction of all merchandise bearing the infringing logo, and removal of references to the mark from all its handles.

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PATENT
APPEAL OVER FENDER DESIGN PATENT AGAINST GM

The US appeals court decision in the case of LKQ Corporation v. GM Global Technology Operations LLC decided against GM. The auto-parts maker, LKQ dispute with GM began in 2022 when the former asked the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board to cancel a GM Fender design patent, post the expiry of their agreement.

Other than being the first full-court rehearing in a patent case since 2018, the decision also upended the established Rosen-Durling test, which assesses the obviousness of design patents,
This test has two elements, that – 1) the primary reference must be basically the same as the claimed design, and 2) any secondary references must be so related to the primary reference that the features from one would suggest application to the other. The court observed that this two-part requirement of the test makes the current regime “improperly rigid,” and instead applied the obviousness test outlined in Graham v. John Deere (1996).

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PATENT
SHOPIFY’s $40 MILLION JURY VERDICT FOR INFRINGEMENT OF WEB-TECHNOLOGY PATENT REVERSED

A jury’s decision holding the e-commerce platform Shopify liable for $40 million in damages for infringement of Express Mobile’s website-building technology patents, has successfully been overturned by a Delaware federal court. The court held that the evidence was insufficient to prove the jury’s verdict. The company had sued Shopify in 2019 on the grounds that its website-building tools had infringed on their patents related to software for providing content to mobiles.

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COPYRIGHT
CALCUTTA HIGH COURT RESTRAINS VODAFONE

Calcutta High Court has restrained Vodafone from using unlicensed caller tunes without paying royalties to the artists. Such unlicensed use of copyrighted work amounts to infringement and entitles music composers to pursue legal action under the Copyright Act, 1957. Furthermore, the court observed that the 2012 amendments to the Act ensured that the substantive rights of the authors would prevail over the rights of first owners, and accordingly, directed the company to pay royalties to the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) for the unauthorized use of its members’ intellectual property despite Vodafone’s agreements with Saregama Pvt. Ltd, which originally manufactured and published some of the recordings. The Court also criticized the attempts of these companies to circumvent the royalty-sharing pattern envisaged to protect artists’ rights in the 2012 act.

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COPYRIGHT
MARVEL STUDIOS SUBPOENAS INSTAGRAM FOR ‘CAPTAIN AMERICA’ LEAK

Marvel Studios’ VP of Global Security and Content Protection, Matthew Slattof, has filed a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, urging Instagram to disclose the identity of the operator of the account (@CanWeGetSomeToast) that leaked ‘Captain America: Brave New World.’ The Studio has accused the social media platform of copyright infringement for sharing a copyrighted image from the soon-to-be-released film without its permission.

The outcome of this suit will greatly influence how social media users and online forums handle leaks in the future.

Reference: 

COPYRIGHT
SONY MUSIC SUES MARRIOTT

Sony Music has sued Marriott for the unauthorized use of over 900 songs of its artists’ including hits by Beyonce, Michael Jackson, and Harry Styles for their advertisements on social media platforms. The infringement could make the hotel chain liable for more than $139 million in statutory damages. Sony Music has also claimed that the infringements continued despite having intimated the company about the unsanctioned use of their recordings in 2020.

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COPYRIGHT
AI CHATBOT IMITATES SCARLETT JOHANSSON’S VOICE

The recently debuted GPT-40 chatbot’s ‘Sky’ voice was found to be eerily similar to that of Scarlett Johansson’s in the film “Her”, despite her having previously turned down the OpenAI company’s proposal to voice the chatbot. Post the actress’ accusations of copying her voice, Open AI has agreed to remove the voice, while also insisting that the voice was not meant to be an imitation of hers.

This comes as a rather concerning development in times when artists are grappling with the consequences of the misuse of their likeness and identity through AI.

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MISCELLANEOUS
HUL RESTRAINED FROM COMPARING ITS ‘PONDS’ PRODUCTS TO ‘NIVEA’ PRODUCTS

The Delhi High Court has restrained Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) from comparing its ‘Ponds’ products to ‘Nivea’ products as a part of its marketing and advertising activities, either expressly or impliedly through association with agents in malls. Ponds’ sales representatives were undertaking such a comparison by presenting the customers with two gels – one in a blue tub identical to Nivea Crème blue tub but without its logo, along with the Ponds superlight gel. Nivea alleged that the use of this specific shade of blue clearly indicates towards their products despite no actual presence of their logo. The court accepted Nivea’s contentions and noted that prima facie, the shade of blue has been associated with their products for a period of time, making it distinctive, and thus, the allusion amounts to disparagement and denigration of their products. Accordingly, an injunction was passed against HUL.

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