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In a recent application for injunction before the Delhi High Court, PB Fintech, the operator of the websites such as policybazaar.com and paisabazaar.com obtained a favourable order against several infringing websites. The suit was filed against eight operating websites that incorporated PB Fintech’s ‘Policybazaar’ and ‘Paisabazaar’ trademarks, misleading the consumers to believe that these websites were associated with PB Fintech. Along with the unauthorised use of PB Fintech’s trademarks, these websites had also registered confusingly similar domains such as policybazaarclub.com, paisabazaarfinance.in, and paisabazaras.com among others. The Delhi High Court in this case found that PB Fintech had established a prima facie case of trademark infringement as well as passing off, and ordered the domain name registrars and internet service providers to block access to the infringing domains.
In a recent order by the Delhi High Court, AstraZeneca, a multinational pharmaceutical company was denied an injunction against Intas Pharmaceuticals and Alkem Laboratories in a case relating to the manufacture of an anti-diabetic drug – Dapagliflozin, which allegedly infringed two of AstraZeneca’s patents, IN 205147 (IN ‘147) and IN 235625 (IN ‘625) respectively. The order revealed what could turn out to be a case of double-patenting that escaped scrutiny for over 17 years. The judgement also explores important questions regarding coverage-disclosure dichotomy and public interest during pandemic. Another recent decision by the Delhi High court has also refused an injunction to IN ‘625 against other generics manufacturers.
On November 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Vectura Limited v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC in which the appellate court affirmed the District of Delaware’s denial of post-trial motions filed by GSK, leaving in place a $90 million jury verdict entered over GSK’s infringement of Vectura patent claims through its sale of Ellipta-brand inhalers administering active ingredients to users.
On November 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a ruling in Car-Freshner Corporation v. American Covers, LLC in which the appellate court reversed-in-part a summary judgment ruling after it “heard a good bit more than an echo” of bad faith sounding from internal emails among defendants who used the name “Midnight Black Ice Storm” in an attempt to create consumer confusion with Car-Freshner’s top-selling “Black Ice” auto fragrance.
The B2B e – commerce platform, IndiaMart, has taken JD Mart, its recent competitor to court over copyright violations. The primary allegation was that JD Mart has copied the website compilations of the company. Reports suggest that the Delhi High Court had granted interim injunction in favour of IndiaMart. Subsequent to this, searches were conducted at JD’s office in addition to copies of the inventory of its website, mobile site and application database regarding the launch of JD Mart. The CEO and founder of IndiaMart, Dinesh Agarwal said in a statement that, “There are various kinds of B2B businesses and there are players like Amazon, Walmart. Let us see what JD Mart comes up with.” He added that, “It will be a 3-5 year journey and at the end of it the buyers and sellers will see who offers a better value proposition to them. For any new player to do sales is one thing, but getting the product right is a long term plan. We didn’t build IndiaMART over a couple of quarters. Just Dial is a great company and I’m sure they will find something new, some day.”
The seven time Formula 1 Champion, Lewis Hamilton, was denied by a European Union Court in his efforts to injunct a Swiss luxury watchmaker from registering and exploiting the ‘Hamilton” trademark. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled against Hamilton and held that the ‘Hamilton International’ trademark has been in existence since 1892, when the watch manufacturer was first established in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The court held, “There is no ‘natural right’ for a person to have his or her own name registered as a trademark, when that would infringe third parties’ rights. Even the cancellation applicant explicitly accepted that the contested mark ‘HAMILTON’ had been used since 1892, i.e. even before the date of birth of ‘Lewis Hamilton’ as a natural person. No bad faith can be found on the part of the EU trademark proprietor. In fact, the EU trademark proprietor demonstrated a significant economic activity in the horological field since 1892.”
The Chrysler building in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales has been replaced by a generic skyscraper due to copyright issues. The same has appeared in 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man and other Marvel media, however, copyright issues have caused the new Insomniac game to not use the building. No new agreement was made under the new ownership of the Chrysler Building since 2019 before the launch of the new game according to reports by Game Informer. The founder of Lee Law, explaining to Game informer said, “If you have just a basic box of a building that looks like just a generic building, you can’t go around and sue every building in Manhattan, furthermore, ‘You have stolen my idea of what a building looks like,'” Lee said. “You can’t protect the functionality of something, but you could protect the artistic parts of it. So when it comes to certain architecture, whether it has big spires at the top, or whether it has curved glass, whether you see something and you see that it’s unique and different, that’s absolutely protected by copyright. So in order to reproduce it in either another building or make a derivative work such as a T-shirt, a model, or even putting it in a video game, you need authorization from the copyright owner to reproduce the protected thing – which in this case could be the Chrysler Building.” If it were a movie or a form of media that showed a quick glimpse of the building, it wouldn’t be an issue. But in this game, you can climb, and inspect every part of the building, which could open up Insomniac, Marvel, and Sony to possible lawsuits.
Despite pressure to make an exception to improve access to drugs for poorer countries, wealthy nations reiterated their opposition to a proposal to waive intellectual property rules for COVID 19 drugs. Those who support the waiver say that the current IP rules create barriers on access to affordable medicines and vaccines which they want eased as they were during the AIDS epidemic. Another trade source claimed that developing countries denied that IP rights were creating barriers saying their suspension, “was not only unnecessary but would also undermine the collaborative efforts to fight the pandemic that are already under way”.