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1. Britannia moves court against ITC, alleges trademark infringement

Britannia Industries Ltd has filed two cases in the Delhi High Court against ITC Ltd for alleged infringement of its product packaging trademark. The former has alleged that that ITC’s packaging for its newly launched Sunfeast Veda Digestive and Sunfeast 5-Seed Digestive biscuits are “deceptively similar” to their Nutri Choice Hi-Fibre and Nutri Choice Digestive biscuits’ green packaging. This is not the first time that the companies have moved to court regarding trademark disputes. In 2016, ITC had claimed that the packaging of Britannia’s Nutri Choice Digestive Zero biscuit, was similar to their Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive All Good biscuit. Earlier this year, Britannia had also filed a similar case against Kishore Biyani-led Future Consumer Ltd, alleging that the latter had copied the packaging of several of Britannia’s biscuit brands for its Tasty Treat biscuits. Britannia has also objected to Future Consumer’s use of ‘Good Time’ on one of its product packs, saying it sounds similar to Britannia’s ‘Good Day’ brand.

2. Fed. Cir. Reaffirms No State Sovereign Immunity in IPRs

In a non-precedential opinion, the Federal Circuit recently reaffirmed that state universities cannot use sovereign immunity to avoid patent challenges. The case by University of Texas System against Baylor College of Medicine followed the path of a recent 2019 Fed Cir. decision (Regents of the University of Minnesota v. LSI Corp., 926 F.3d 1327, 1342) that held the same. In the University of Minnesota case, the Federal Circuit stated that IPRs are similar to enforcement proceedings brought by a federal agency where sovereign immunity usually does not apply. The University of Texas in this case argued that the Federal Circuit panel in the University of Minnesota case applied the wrong standards and reached an incorrect decision by improperly focusing on the purpose of the proceeding, rather than the nature of the proceeding. The panel in this particular case however sided with Baylor, stating that it was bound by the University of Minnesota decision. 

3. Bentley v Bentley: Car firm loses appeal against trademark ruling

The luxury car manufacturer has lost its appeal against a ruling which said it infringed the copyright of a family-run clothing company. In November 2019, the UK High Court ruled that Bentley Motors (BM) had infringed the copyright of Manchester-based Bentley Clothing (BC). It meant the car firm could not use the name Bentley on its UK clothing range. Dismissing BM’s case, judges at the Court of Appeal said there was “no basis” for interfering with the ruling. The 2019 ruling meant that BM would no longer be able to use the name, either on its own or in conjunction with its famous “wings” logo, on its clothing range in the UK and would have to limit its range in future to “jackets, silk ties, caps and scarves”.

4. German Court states that YouTube does not have to share details of copyright infringers

On December 11, the First Civil Senate of Germany’s Federal Court of Justice issued a ruling in which the court found that operators of online video platforms, in this case YouTube, does not have to provide personal information of platform users who have allegedly uploaded copyright-protected content to plaintiffs asserting copyright claims over such uploads in court. The Federal Court of Justice stated that the right to information about “name and address” within the meaning of the UrhG (Act on Copyright and Related Rights) does not include information about e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of the users of the services. It also does not include information about the IP addresses used to upload infringing files or the IP addresses last used by users of the services to access their user account. 

5. AbbVie’s Botox Wins Reprieve as The International Trade Agency Bars Evolus’ Jeaveau For Alleged Trade Secret Theft

On Wednesday, a 21 – month ban on the import or sale of Evolus’ Jeuveau was issued by The United States International Trade Commission. Jeuveau is a Botox competitor that launched in May 2019. The allegations made by Medytox was that Evolus and its manufacturing partner, Daewoong, used stolen trade secrets to manufacture Jeuveau. This allegation was denied by Evolus. “We will now focus on overturning the decision by mobilizing interested parties close to this matter through the presidential review process,” Evolus CEO David Moatazedi said in a statement. “We recognize it has been a challenging time for employees and customers, and I want to thank you for standing with us while we continue to try to resolve this matter.” 

6. WWE Applies To Trademark ‘The Collective’, Term Already Popularized By GCW

WWE has reportedly made an application to trademark the term ‘The Collective’. A term that has been made popular in recent years by independent promotion by GCW. WWE issued their application to trademark “The Collective” on December 15th for the purpose of wrestling exhibitions and performances. The move turned a lot of heads in the wrestling industry early on Saturday morning when the move started to make the news. GCW has been using the term “The Collective” to promote a weekend long series of events, typically during WrestleMania weekend. There’s currently no reporting that indicates what WWE would attempt to do with the trademark, but applying to gain the trademark rights to a term that has already been established in the wrestling world is certainly going to be seen as a controversial move.

7. High Court safeguards ‘IIHM’ Logo and Acronym from Misuse by Other Institutions

The  International Institute of Hotel Management has won a lawsuit against the Indian Institute of Hotel Management who had been falsely using  the acronym ‘IIHM’. Indian Institute of Hotel Management has been given and injunction against using the same expression mark or logo carrying the acronym IIHM for its business name, style or any other similar work. Meaning, they cannot use the IIHM acronym for advertisements, hoardings and other material in modes of communication pr publications. The injunction was passed after a 4 hour hearing in an order dated 2nd October 2020. Offering hospitality education, the Indian Institute of Hotel Management has been using the acronym since 2010, infringing the trademark of the International Institute of Hotel Management.

8. Copyright Infringement Notice Issued to HBO Max and Warner Media

The creators of the film series ‘12 O’Clock Boyz’, Taje Monbo and Deafueh Monbo have issued a notice to HBO Max and its owner, Warner media over Copyright infringement. HBO Max has been advised to stop the release and distribution of the adaption film, Charm City Kings. Allegedly, Charm City Kings contains copyrighted elements taken from the film series 12 O’Clock Boyz which were released in 2001 and 2003. In their infringement notice it was stated that neither Overbrook Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Will Smith, Oscilloscope Laboratories, Lotfy Nathan nor Red Gap Film Group cleared, or licensed the rights to prepare derivative work based on the 12 O’Clock Boyz Copyrighted Works.

Image Sources:

  1. Shuvro Mojumder by Unsplash
  2. Baylor College of Medicine on WikiMedia
  3. Nikolay Tchaouchev on Unsplash. 
  4. Christian Wiediger on Unsplash. 
  5. Jeaveau on Google Images
  6. WWE on Pixy.org 
  7. IIHM on IIHM Website
  8. HBO / WarnerMedia on HBO MAX