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. Rihanna faces copyright infringement lawsuit over music used in Fenty Instagram post

Musicians King Khan and daughter Saba Lou are suing Rihanna for using one of their songs for a promotional social media post. They allege that their 2012 song, “Good Habits (and Bad),” was used in an Instagram post to promote her Fenty brand accessories but “did not have their blessing, or legal permission to use the tune,” claiming her team likely “ripped it from a music streaming platform.” The suit notes that the post had over 3.4 million views. King Khan and Saba Lou are suing for unspecified damages, and are asking for the song to be removed from the ad.

2. U.S. probes whether Volkswagen Group vehicles infringe Jaguar Land Rover patents

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said on Monday it is opening an investigation into whether German automaker Volkswagen AG infringed on patents held by Jaguar Land Rover for a system used for off-road driving. In November, Jaguar Land Rover, a unit of Tata Motors, filed a complaint with the ITC seeking to prevent the import of some Volkswagen, Porsche, Lamborghini and Audi models with “certain vehicle control systems” that allegedly infringe on its patents. The models include the Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and Audi’s Q8, Q7, Q5, A6 Allroad, and e-tron vehicles and the Volkswagen Tiguan. The ITC said it has made no decision on the merits. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said the vehicles “have used JLR’s patented inventions without payment or permission” notably a patent for an “improved system for driving a vehicle on different driving surfaces, in particular off-road.” JLR says its Terrain Response technology uses the patented technology to maximize performance on off-road driving surfaces, including grass, snow, mud, sand and rocks.

3. Maharashtra Government to provide financial assistance of up to Rs 10 lakh for promising startups with respect to patent filing costs

In a bid to support the start-up ecosystem in Maharashtra, the state government has taken up a new initiative to provide financial assistance to innovative start-ups who wish to file for patents. In its first phase, around 125-150 start-ups will be supported with financial assistance from up to 2 -10 lakhs. Minister of Skill Development, Employment and Entrepreneurship Mr. Nawab Malik stated that often, youth-led start-ups offering innovative solutions are unable to file patents because of the high expenses involved. The scheme is said to cater across utility patents, industry design patents, copyrights (limited to computer code) and trademark applications. In order to be eligible for the same, the applicant should be a start-up recognized by the Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India and incorporated in Maharashtra.

4. Apple patents next-gen technology on Airpods that uses body movements to recognize signals

A newly granted patent (U.S. patent No. US010873798) suggests that the future versions of Apple’s Truly Wireless (TWS) earbuds could be controlled via a series of gestures, none of which would involve touching the earbuds themselves. The patent titled “Detecting Through-Body Inputs At A Wearable Audio Device” describes in detail the ways in which the few extra sensors lets the user use their body parts to control the earbuds. The earbuds are said to have no touch-sensitive areas, buttons, or digital crowns to change tracks or control the volume. Instead, the technology used lets the device detect the various body movements of the user such as clicking of tongue or teeth to control the different media functions.The patent reads “The user may contact an exterior surface of their body, such as the skin on his or her face. Further examples of input actions include a user clicking his or her teeth together or clicking his or her tongue. Input actions may further include a user moving a body part, such as moving (e.g., shaking) his or her head, moving his or her hands, arms, legs, and so on”.

5. Stop uploading articles with copyright: HC to open-access academic portal

The owner of SciHub, a website that provides free access to millions of research papers and books, Alexandra Elbakyan was asked to disclose her physical address to the Delhi High Court. The court also recorded Ms. Elbakyan’s counsel’s statement that no articles or publications in which the publishing houses that have approached the court with a copyright infringement suit, have copyright will be uploaded or made available on the website till January 6, the next date of hearing. Elsevier, Wiley India, Wiley Periodicals, American Chemical Society, which are top global publishing houses in the field of scientific and academic publications and market, who sell and license various digitised journals including The Lancet and Cell were the ones who filed the case.The Case was filed against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis (Libgen), another website which provides free access to journals, and alleging that they indulge in online piracy by making available to the public their literary work for free.

6. LeBron James Slams Photog with $1M Countersuit in Copyright Fight

Lakers Basketball superstar, Lebron James posted a photo by courtside photographer Steve Mitchell to his instagram and Facebook accounts without permission in December 2019 which has become the center of a copyright infringement lawsuit. LeBron James and his companies Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures LLC, which the complaint asserts that operates James’ Facebook Page over copyright infringement, has been sued by Mitchell. Mitchell has not been able to claim a dime from the photo which he captured which gained attraction through likes and shares on social media. It was reported that Mitchell filed a claim in court asking for any money made off the post or $150,000 for each time James used the image. The suit was responded to by a countersuit against the photographer. James is asking for at least $1 million and attorney fees. He initially contested that he is entitled to post the photos as long as he isn’t commercially exploiting Mitchell’s work, but James later removed the photographs. James’s counter lawsuit argues that Mitchell illegally used his photos on Mitchell’s website to promote his own photo service.

7. Bombay High Court Restrains Delhi Based Firm From The Use of The Trademark ISKCON

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) breathed a sigh of relief when the High Court of Bombay restrained Vishna Foods Pvt Ltd., a Delhi based firm, from using the trademark ISKCON in any manner. Vishna Foods owns a store by the name of ‘Annakoot’ and sells its food product under the name of ‘Annakoot Iskcon’. The advocate for ISKCON argued that the defendant was using the term ISKCON in such a manner to deceive the public and pass off the product as being manufactured by ISKCON. In the judgment, Justice GS Kulkarni held, “In my prima facie opinion, it appears to be quite clear that the defendant, by use of the impugned mark appears to have infringed the applicant’s trademark and is passing off its products resembling that of the applicant.”

8. Xiaomi Patents a Smartphone Design With Surround Display and Pop – Up Cameras 

Xiaomi has recently patented a smartphone design with a surround display and pop – up cameras. The documents which were submitted to The Hague Bulletin included 16 sketches which detail the design of the smartphone with a 360 degree surround display. The design also features a wide pop – up module at the top which houses a triple camera setup which is accompanied by a dual – LED flash display. The application also included the design of a handset which included a power key and a hole for the secondary microphone. The bottom of the phone on the design features a USB Type – C port, a speaker grill, a primary microphone slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 


Image Sources:

  1. Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
  2. Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash 
  3. KhanAli1995 on Wikimedia
  4. Omid Armin on Unsplash 
  5. Blogtrepreneur On Wikimedia
  6. Erik Drost on wikimedia
  7. Ilya Mauter on Wikimedia
  8. Xiaomi Corporation on Wikimedia