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1. Bridgestone Wins Tyre Patent Infringement Lawsuit against Local Tire Maker in China

Bridgestone Corporation has received a favorable ruling from the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in its lawsuit regarding the infringement of patent rights against Chinese tyre manufacturer Shandong Vheal Group Co., Ltd. In September 2017, a lawsuit was filed claiming that Vheal had manufactured and sold tyres utilizing a truck tyre tread pattern that was covered under a Bridgestone patent, and that these activities were therefore in violation of the Company’s patent rights. The infringed patent rights concern the tread pattern on Bridgestone’s R118 truck tyre. This tyre tread pattern was developed by the company for China and other Asian markets. In June 2020, the Court upheld Bridgestone’s claim and ordered Vheal to cease activities that are in violation of the company’s patent rights and to pay damages to Bridgestone in the amount of 500,000 Chinese Yuan ($76,540). This is the second time Bridgestone has successfully enforced its patent covering the R118 tread pattern, having also been victorious in an infringement suit against the Chinese tire manufacturer Fangxing Rubber Co., Ltd. in Shanghai High People’s Court in February 2020.

2. IP arbitration cases go online in Thailand

In 2021, Thailand will launch an online arbitration service for intellectual property disputes in a bid to make the country a regional hub for settling such issues. The introduction of the new service from January 1 is the result of a collaboration between the Commerce and Justice Ministries. Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said the project was a step towards achieving the Justice Ministry’s goal to make Thailand a “regional hub for arbitration”. Over the past 18 years, there have been 621 lawsuits on copyright infringements, especially related to patents and commercial trademarks. While acting as a mediator, however, the Department of Intellectual Property has managed to settle 54% of such disputes, significantly reducing the burden on the civil courts. Vuttikrai Leewiraphan of the Commerce Ministry insisted people’s privacy would be protected. “The parties will be obliged to sign an agreement to keep the contract and related information as classified information,” he said. “This will prevent them from using this information to file lawsuits or using it in any other arbitrary courts in future.”

3. Maharashtra court issues notice to Serum Institute of India on suit against usage of name ‘COVIDSHIELD’ for proposed vaccine

A civil court in Maharashtra has issued a notice to Serum Institute of India (SII) in a passing off suit seeking to restrain the pharmaceutical company from using the trademark ‘COVISHIELD’ or ‘COVID-SHIELD’ or any other identical names for its proposed vaccine against the Coronavirus. The civil suit was filed by a pharmaceutical company Cutis Biotech who claimed to be the lawful and prior user of the trade name COVISHIELD. The plaintiff claimed to have filed their application for registration of the trademark on April 29, 2020 much before SII’s application for the same in June, 2020. The suit further states that on July 11, the Registrar of Trademarks raised an objection to the applications of SII pointing out that the plaintiff has made a prior application with respect to the trademark.

4. Pfizer Applies for Trademark for New Catchphrase in Marketing COVID Vaccine

Pfizer is one of several pharmaceutical companies that has developed a vaccine for COVID-19 and is now trying to get a jump on its competitors with a new catchphrase. In April of 2020, the company is said to have filed a trademark application on its ‘SCIENCE WILL WIN’ marketing campaign in order to protect its catchphrase and stand out from the competition. However, with its vaccine now beginning to be administered to patients around the world, Pfizer has launched its newest campaign the past week. This was followed by filing a trademark application for the new catchphrase ‘SCIENCE WILL MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH’. As a continuation of its SCIENCE WILL WIN campaign, Pfizer’s newest trademark application seeks to protect the marketing of its successful vaccine.

5. Ericsson Files Lawsuit Against Samsung Over Patent Issues Leading to Tumbling of Shares 

In a statement, Ericsson said that it had filed the lawsuit against Samsung for “violating contractual commitments to negotiate in good faith and to license patents on Fair, Reasonable and Non – Discriminatory (FRAND) terms and conditions.” However, the shares of the Swedish telecom manufacturing company plummeted after it announced that it was going to sue the South Korean electronics giant, Samsung. It was reported that in the first hour of trading on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, the share price of Ericsson was down by about seven percent. The company stated that the litigation and the delay in renewing license agreements, could have a negative financial impact of 1.5 billion Swedish Kronas, which is equivalent to 1,307 crores in Indian Rupees. 

6. Skoda Auto India Trademarks Five New Names For Future Cars

As per a recent listing on the Ministry of Commerce & Industry’s Patent Design and Trademarks portal, Skoda Auto India has recently registered five new product names for the Indian market. The names include Konarq, Kliq, Karmiq, Kosmiq and Kushaq. The range of names suggests that Skoda might be looking for more options apart from the previously suggested ‘Kliq’ as a name for its immediate future SUV. Skoda follows a trend in naming strategies where it uses names starting with ‘K’ and ending with ‘Q’ for its SUV lineup, for example – Skoda Kodiaq, Karoq and Kamiq. This trend is suggestive of the fact that one of the newly registered names will be used on its immediate future SUV. The new Skoda compact SUV will likely come equipped with a 1.5 – litre TSI engine which delivers 148 break horse power of power and 250 newton metres of torque, along with a 7 – speed DSG automatic transmission.  

7. Conor McGregor has lost the ongoing legal battle with a clothing company over trademarking his brand in Europe

In 2017, UFC star Connor McGregor applied to register on own apparel line. He was opposed by the fashion label, McGregor which was founded almost 100 years ago. The Irishman’s hoodies, sweatshirts and shorts with his signature in huge letters were banned in an injunction. It was claimed by the company’s legal team that there would be confusion, causing the people to believe that the superstar was a part of their label. Connor McGregor, challenged the ruling and his lawyers argued there would be no confusion between the brands. But the appeal was thrown out by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

8. Cyberpunk 2077 devs warn streamers to turn off all music to avoid DMCA strikes

CD Projekt Red’s (CDPR) highly anticipated new roleplaying game Cyberpunk 2077 is having a tough release, because it can add copyright issues while streaming to its list of launch-day hiccups. Any potential Twitch streamer should turn off all in-game music to avoid any strikes on their channel, until a fix is ready, as recommended by the developer. Streamers were warned by the developers that even if they are using the specific in-game settings designed to toggle off copyrighted music, a certain song (CDPR didn’t say which one) can trigger a Digital Millennium Copyright Act strike during the game’s “Braindance” sequence. CDPR clarified that the issue is larger than they realized, and advised streamers to turn off in-game music completely to avoid DMCA strikes, till a fix is available.

Image Sources:

  1. Niklas Du on Unsplash 
  2. Dave Kim on Unsplash  
  3. Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
  4. Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
  5. Generatio-nt on Wikimedia 
  6. Skoda on Wikimedia
  7. Andrius Petrucenia on Flickr 
  8. CD Projekt on Wikipedia