1. Barclays takes action against patent trolls

Recently, Barclays, a major European headquartered bank, the first of its kind, joined the LOT Network and Open Invention Network Community to oppose the abuse of Intellectual Property Rights by patent trolls. Patent trolls or Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) are organisations that thrive by threatening to sue companies unless they pay to license their patents. The majority of such spurious claims are settled owing to the time, resources and expenses required for successful litigation. By joining the LOT Network, Barclays will be adding its portfolio of patents to the millions of patents that have already been hosted. “Spurious claims from Patent Assertion Entities divert resources and investment away from true innovation and collaboration. We also recognise that a modern approach to technology development and innovation requires a level playing field around the use of open-source software. With a membership of LOT and OIN, we are pleased to contribute to and extend the growing global community working together to reduce the PAE threat and lower barriers to use of open source technologies” stated Lee Brain, the Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of the organization on the issue.

2. BigBasket slaps notice on Daily Basket for using ‘Basket’ in its name

Coimbatore-based online grocery retailer Daily Basket recently received a cease-and-desist notice from BigBasket, an online supermarket for alleged trademark and brand name violation over the use of the word “basket” by Daily Basket. The latter has however refuted the allegations stating that except for the word basket, there are no similarities or trademark violations in the brand logo. BigBasket claims through its notice that Daily Basket is an e-commerce business that is offering identical products and services through a similar domain name which makes it deceptive in nature. “Though we have a word ‘basket’ in our brand and we do deliver online groceries, it doesn’t mean we copied their trademarks or unethically copied their website & apps. We never misused BigBasket’s brand in any way as they claimed in the cease and desist letter. That’s a blatant lie,” the company stated.

3. UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejects ‘Cheerful Buddha’ TM for CBD coffee

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) refused Cheerful Buddha registration for key goods and services because it could cause confusion with Rituals’ ‘Happy Buddha’ brand. Cheerful Buddha sells a range of cannabidiol (CBD)-based products, including coffee, chocolate and CBD drops. The London company filed to register the name of the company as a trademark covering these goods, as well as others including dietary supplements and herbal teas. Rituals stated that the brand would confuse customers into thinking it was a spin-off of its ‘Happy Buddha’ collection, which includes cosmetic products such as shower lotions, hand balms, and conditioners. In their decision, they stated that the trademarks were “conceptually similar to a very high degree”, and likely to cause both direct and indirect confusion among consumers. Cheerful Buddha has exclusive rights to use the name in the UK for products including pharmaceuticals, honeys, beers and soft drinks. But the mark was refused for herbal teas, coffee, and dietary supplements.

4. AB InBev sues over Corona seltzer ‘licencing violation’

Grupo Modelo, the Mexican arm of drinks giant Anheuser-Busch InBev is taking competitor Constellation Brands to Court over its popular Corona brand.  The company is accused of violating licencing agreements by using the name ‘Corona’ in the branding of its seltzer released last year. AB InBev acquired Grupo Modelo in 2013, selling off its US business to Constellation, including the rights to its Corona brand, but kept rights for Corona distribution in all other markets. Grupo Modelo claims that Constellation violated the terms of the agreement regarding the use of the brand name by creating a non-beer, Corona-branded product. The sublicense gave Constellation the rights to use the Corona brand in both Guam and the US. But according to the complaint by Grupo Modelo, the brand usage was limited to beer, ale, porter, stout or malt beverages.

5. New bill proposes the abolition of India’s troubled IPAB

A new draft bill from India’s Union Finance Minister proposes the closure of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). The Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill 2021, proposed by Nirmala Sitharaman and printed on February 12, suggests the abolition of the board and the transfer of its responsibilities to the commercial and high courts. The reasons for the abolition of IPAB include the board having “not led to a faster justice delivery at a considerable expense to the exchequer,” and to hopefully “reduce the burden on the public exchequer, but also address the issue of shortage of supporting staff of tribunals and infrastructure.”  The draft bill also seeks the closure of the Appellate Tribunal, Airport Appellate Tribunal, the Plant Varieties Appellate Tribunal and the Authority for Advance Rulings.

6. OnePlus Watch design spotted on German Patent and Trademark Office

It was confirmed that OnePlus was working on a smartwatch. However, the launch date has not been disclosed yet. TechnikNews has spotted the design of the rumoured OnePlus Watch on the German Patent and Trademark Office. Whether or not this is the final design of the watch, it is unconfirmed. According to the sketches, the smartwatch will have a round dial and a bracelet strap, having two buttons on the right side which could be for power and selection. It may arrive with a heart rate sensor, blood oxygen, and blood pressure monitoring. The version in the patents could be a sports variant.

7. TikTok parent ByteDance joins patent troll protection group LOT Network

It was announced that TikTok parent ByteDance is joining a group, LOT Network, a non profit organisation that will help businesses to defend themselves from patent trolls by creating a shared pool of patents to immunise themselves against them. A fair share of patents has been acquired by ByteDance recently and is currently in a patent battle with its opponent Triller. Currently, the LOT Network has members such as IBM, the Coca-Cola Company, Cisco, Lyft, Microsoft, Oracle, Target, Tencent, Tesla, VW, Ford, Waymo, Xiaomi and Zelle with a total of more than 1300 members.

8. Twitch Replaces Live Metallica Audio With Hilarious Folk Music to Avoid Copyright Violation

Twitch, the gaming platform which has an abundance of music-copyright problems recently, cut the audio for the band Metallica’s BlizzCon performance on Friday predicting legal issues. It was replaced with comical instrumental folk music. The switch was made in between one of the band’s greatest hits “Enter Sandman,” which was enraging and/or hilarious to some. The news was first reported by e-sports analyst Rod “Slasher” Breslau. He was reluctant to post the full clip but others later posted it. At the time of the publication of the article in reports in ‘Metal Injection’, the band’s full performance was available on Youtube.

 

 

Image Sources:

  1. Barclays plc on Wikimedia.
  2. Manny Becerra on Unsplash.
  3. Oleksandra Naumenko on Shutterstock.
  4. Arnaud STECKLE on Unsplash
  5. Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
  6. Oneplus
  7. ByteDance on https://www.tiktok.com/
  8. Metallica Family on Facebook