Welcome to IPpetite. We’re here to satisfy your weekly cravings for Intellectual Property news from all over the globe, in bite sized portions. Bon IPpetite!

1. Nokia Seeks to Block Lenovo Sales in Germany Over Patent Licensing

After a violation of a video encoding patent by Lenovo, Nokia sought to enforce an injunction against them to block sales of its products in Germany. On September 30, a Munich court ruled that Hong Kong-listed Lenovo infringed one of Nokia’s patents and hence ordered an injunction, and a recall of products from retailers, among other things. 

“We believe Nokia has violated its own legal obligations by refusing to license its technology on Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms to either Lenovo or our third-party suppliers whose parts include H.264 technology,” a Lenovo statement said.

The matter can be resolved by accepting the responsibilities and agree to a license on fair terms between the parties to which Lenovo is unwilling to enter into.

2. Trademarks are for Sellers: Banksy Store Created for Trademark Defense Fails to Protect ‘Flower Thrower’

A mural sprayed on a Jerusalem building of a protester preparing to hurl flowers which was among street artist Banksy’s most iconic images—failed to win trademark approval from the European Union in September. The reason for not giving approval was based on doubts the sincerity of his attempt to merchandise the image.

Banksy had hoped that the trademark would prevent unauthorized use of the image by a greeting card company, Yorkshire-based Full Colour Black. Famously private, the artist resorted to an unorthodox strategy of seeking trademark protection.To avoid using copyright laws (which would have required him to reveal his true identity), the artist’s company, Pest Control, had filed the mark. He has managed to keep his identity hidden for more than 15 years.

3. PepsiCo Loses ‘Mountain Dew’ to Packaged Drinking Water Maker MagFast

MagFast Beverages, a Hyderabad based beverage manufacturer, has secured a favourable order against American food and beverage giant PepsiCo, this allows MagFast to use the ‘Mountain Dew’ trademark in relation to its packaged drinking water, as ruled by the Hyderabad City Civil Court.

In the year 2000, MagFast Beverages launched its own packaged drinking water under the brand ‘Mountain Dew’.  Later in the year 2003, PepsiCo introduced its soft drink under the same name. Subsequently, they went alleging infringement of trademark, Pepsico went on to file a suit before the Delhi High Court against MagFast beverages. The case was transferred to the Hyderabad City Civil Court after an application was made by MagFast to the Supreme Court. It was held that PepsiCo was not entitled to use the ‘Mountain Dew’ trademark in India, as MagFast was the prior user of the mark. PepsiCo, claims to be the registered proprietor of the mark in India,  hence they intend to appeal the order of the Hyderabad City Civil Court.

4. Federal Circuit Rejects St. Jude’s Challenge to Validity of Snyders’ Heart Valve Patent

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), in St. Jude Medical, LLC v. Snyders Heart Valve LLC, affirmed an inter partes review (IPR) decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board) rejecting St. Jude Medical, LLC’s (St. Jude) contention that Snyders Heart Valve LLC’s (Snyders) artificial heart valve patent was invalid, on October 15. 

In another IPR decision which the CAFC reviewed, it reversed the decision of the Board that certain claims of the patent were invalid and affirmed that the remaining claim was valid.

5. World Trade Organisation Members Discuss the Proposal of India and South Africa to Ease Intellectual Property Rules. 

About forty members of the World Trade organisation came together to discuss the recent proposals of the nations of India and South Africa to ease the enforcement, application and implementation of Intellectual Property Rules as provided for in the TRIPS in the backdrop of the current COVID – 19 situation. 

According to the WTO statement issued on Tuesday, the proponents of the proposal argued the relaxations would avoid barriers to the timely access to affordable medical products, including vaccines and medicines, or to scaling-up of research, development, manufacturing and supply of essential medical products.

“At the meeting of the Council for TRIPS on October 15-16, 2020, WTO members discussed how best to use the global IP system to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. Furthermore, a statement that was released stated that, “A number of developing and developed country members opposed the waiver proposal, noting that there is no indication that intellectual property rights (IPRs) have been a genuine barrier to accessing COVID-19 related medicines and technologies.”

6. Brazil Announces New Fast Track Process for Patent Examination 

The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office recently announced three new fast – track procedures to obtain patent registration. These fast tracks are available for 1) Applications that cover “technologies already available in the Brazilian market; 2) applications filed by local startups; and 3) applications for “technologies resulting from Brazilian public funding.” 

In order to benefit from the first option, the technology that has been claimed has to have been licensed, put on sale, imported or exported from Brazil. The second option can be claimed when a certificate is presented, which is issued by local authorities, certifying that it meets the definition of a startup. The third option can be exercised when the claimed subject matter results entirely from efforts fo brazilina public entities to develop that matter.

7. Delhi HC Delivers a Blow to “Delhivery”: Rules the Mark to be Phonetically Generic; Ineligible for Statutory Benefits

The Delhi HC on 12th October, 2020, vacated an interim injunction effectively permitting the Respondent (Treasure Vase Ventures Pvt. Ltd.) to use the impugned trademark ‘DELIVER-E’.  In doing so the court held that the Applicant’s (Delhivery Pvt. Ltd.) registered trademark ‘DELHIVERY’ is phonetically similar to the English word ‘delivery’ and is a generic mark, not eligible for benefit of statutory rights. The court reiterated that unless a generic mark has achieved distinctiveness, it cannot be accorded protection under law, and to determine the ‘so claimed’ distinctiveness of the mark at the interim stage would essentially amount to conducting a mini trial, which is prohibited.

8. China Enters the Realm of Anti-Suit Injunctions in Standard Essential Patent (SEP) Cases

Courts in China have recently issued anti-suit injunctions (ASIs) in two high-profile cases involving standard essential patents (SEPs) on 3G and 4G technology (Xiaomi v. InterDigital (2020) E 01 Zhi Min Chu 169 No 1; Zui Gao Fa Zhi Min Zhong (2019) No.732, 733, 734 (Huawei v. Conversant)). The former case has been followed by a controversial ‘anti-anti-suit’ injunction granted by the Delhi High Court on 9th October, 2020. ASIs typically aim to prevent an opposing party from initiating proceedings in another jurisdiction or forum. While controversial, these measures are commonly justified on the grounds that they prevent forum shopping and conflicts of jurisdiction.

Image Sources

  1. Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash.
  2. Jonathan Ford on Unsplash.
  3. Josh McLain on Unsplash.
  4. Natanael Melchor on Unsplash.
  5. Samhitha Bhat on Wikimedia.
  6. Rafaela Biazi on Unsplash.
  7. 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash.
  8. Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash.