Infosys Ltd (India) wins trademark infringement dispute in the United States: Infosys Ltd., the Indian information technology company, successfully enforced its trademark rights against a United States based local consultancy firm operating in the name of Infosys International Inc.  Even though the U.S. based firm had been operating under the said name since the last 28 years, Infosys Ltd. (India) claimed to be operating under its name in the United States since 1981, i.e. over a decade prior to the U.S. based firm and argued that the said U.S. based firm’s name had caused actual consumer confusion and that the Indian company has been damaged and will continue to be irreparably harmed unless the conduct at issue [was] enjoined. Accordingly, in the trademark infringement suit filed by Infosys Ltd., the U.S. District Court (Central Islip) has issued a permanent injunction restraining Infosys International Inc. from using ‘Infosys’ or any confusingly similar name. Proposed bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway with Japan: During the Second Review Meeting on IP, the Japan Patent Office and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI), India have in principal agreed to initiate the bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program between the two countries in early 2019. The countries further agreed to begin the exchange of their official IP Gazettes/Journals as well as collaborate in the field of IT (information technology) infrastructure and IP awareness.
Latest GI tags: The Geographical Indications Registry, India has recently granted GI registrations to two varieties of fruits, namely Shahi Litchi and Alphonso Mango. Shahi Litchi is a variety of Litchi grown in the districts of Bihar namely, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran, Begusarai and adjoining areas and famous for its sweet, juicy, unique flavour, aroma a pearly white aril while Alphonso Mangos are grown in the Konkan area of Maharashtra including the districts of Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Raigad, Thane and Palghar and are known as the most delicious variety of mango with  excellent texture, taste, aroma, early bearing and keeping quality. The GI application for Shahi Litchi was filed by the Bihar Agricultural University, and that for Alphonso Mango was filed by Director of Research, Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. Indian Copyright Office introduces Video Conferencing: The Indian Copyright Office has now introduced video conferencing as an alternative mode conducting hearings pursuant to examination of copyright applications. The applicants or their representatives may opt for attending the hearing before the Copyright Office via video conferencing by submitting a request for hearing through video conferencing within 14 days of receipt of the hearing notice.
New resource for pharmaceutical agencies for patent search: International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation have recently launched an online search tool enabling the health agencies to search and obtain information about the patent status of various medicines worldwide. The open and free access database, Pat-INFORMED also allows the procurement agencies to make direct inquiries about patent information
Mohalla Tech Pvt Ltd. v. Bytedance Inc. & Ors, [CS(Comm)1200 of 2018, Delhi High Court]
Delhi High Court has in the matter of Mohalla Tech Pvt Ltd. V. Bytedance Inc. & Ors, ordered the defendants to deactivate the use of the plaintiff’s trademark “ShareChat” or any deceptively similar mark on the Google ad-word program, until further orders.
Plaintiff, Mohalla Tech Pvt Ltd, owner of the mobile application under the mark “ShareChat” used for exchange of information amongst users, initiated an infringement suit, seeking an injunction against the Defendant No 1’s mobile application ‘Helo’. Plaintiff has alleged that defendant’s activities of not only copying the features, look and feel, but also the various icons and comments and posts visible on the Plaintiff’s app ShareChat, and purchasing of the mark “ShareChat” as an ad-word on the Google ad-word programme amount to infringement of copyright as well as passing off by the Defendant No 1 of its ‘Helo’ application as that of the Plaintiff’s.

The Hon’ble Court, after perusing the layouts of both the mobile applications and hearing the plaintiff’s submissions, as well as in view of the Defendant No. 1’s willingness to discontinue its use of the Plaintiff’s mark on Google ad-word programme, ordered the Defendant No. 1 take steps in this regard and directed Defendant Nos. 2 and 3 to deactivate the Defendant No. 1’s said use in the Google ad-word programme within 48 hours.    Thereafter, Defendant No. 1 has given an undertaking to the court that in addition to deactivating the use of Plaintiff’s mark in google ad-word programme, they have also taken appropriate steps to change the user interface, login screen as well as the categories and sub-categories of the user interface. The matter will now be listed for arguments in December 2018.
Montblanc-Simplo Gmbh v. M/S Bajaj Belts & Ors. [CS(Comm)207 of 2018, Delhi High Court]

The Delhi High Court refused to grant well-known status to Montblanc-Simplo Gmbh [hereinafter ‘Montblanc’] and instead directed the Montblanc to follow the procedure laid out in the Trade Marks Rules, 2017 and file an appropriate application before the Trade Marks Registry, India.

Montblanc-Simplo Gmbh, a leading international manufacturer of writing instruments and owner of the trademark MONTBLAC as well as “the Star Device” comprising stylised six-pointed star with rounded edges, had filed infringement proceedings against the defendants, engaged in sale of counterfeit goods bearing the plaintiff’s trademark(s), seeking permanent injunction restraining the defendants from infringing the plaintiff’s trademarks and passing off their goods as those of the plaintiff’s as well as declaration of well-known status for the plaintiff’s trademarks under Section 2(1)(zg) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 inter alia.   

The Delhi High Court had earlier in February 2018 granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction against the defendants. Subsequently, looking at the evidence found during the execution of anton piller order, the Hon’ble Court passed a summary judgement, decreeing the suit in favour of the Plaintiff, Montblanc without going through the regular trial on the ground that the defendants had no real prospect of defending the claim of infringement. The summary judgement was passed pursuant to the court’s powers under Order XIII-A of the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015, which empowers the Hon’ble Court to, on its own motion or on an application filed by either party, pass judgment without recording the oral evidence and conducting the entire trial in cases where the plaintiff/defendant has no real prospect of succeeding on the claim/defence, as maybe the case.
The Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd v. Vodafone Idea Ltd., [CS No. 210 of 2018, Calcutta High Court]
The Calcutta High Court has, as in interim measure, in a copyright infringement suit filed by the Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd [hereinafter ‘IPRS’] against the defendant, Vodafone Idea Ltd, directed the defendant to deposit a sum of INR 2.5 crores with the court as credit for the suit.

IPRS, a non-profit organisation formed to monitor, protect and enforce the rights of its members including, authors/lyricists, music composers and publishers of music works and literary works (lyrics) associated works, had initiated the said suit against the defendant alleging that provision of Value Added Services (VAS) by the defendants such as caller ring back tones comprising of certain sound recordings (rights for which are owned by the IPRS) without a license from IPRS, amounted to violation of its members’ copyright in the music and lyrics underlying the sound recordings. Defendant, on the other hand, relied upon their agreements with independent music companies such as Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt Ltd (hereinafter ‘Sony’) and Tips Industries Ltd (hereinafter ‘Tips’), to argue that licenses obtained by the defendants under the agreements with the said music companies (owner of the copyright in the sound recordings) squarely covered the use of the concerned sound recordings by the defendant for ring back tone services and accordingly, the defendant was not liable to pay any additional tariff to IPRS for the use of music and lyrics underlying the sound recordings. The Calcutta High Court, however, agreeing with the plaintiff, noted that since the ring tones contained both music and lyrics and a ‘sound recording’ which incorporates the music and lyrics, the defendant would be required to obtain further licenses from IPRS, as owner of rights in the said music and lyrics underlying the sound recordings. Accordingly, considering the balance of convenience, the Calcutta High Court noted that the defendant should account for all future exploitations till the final disposal of the suit and subjected the continuance of defendant’s VAS services to the defendant depositing a sum of INR 2.5 crores to the credit of the suit within three weeks from the date of the order.

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