1. CJEU has held that website links to copyrighted material can be restricted. 

Websites displaying links to copyrighted material under contract may be subject to restrictions imposed by the copyright owner, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) has ruled.  The judgment was handed down on March 9, in a case between visual arts society VG Bild-Kunst and virtual library Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK).  The decision holds that a copyright owner can restrict linking by imposing a contractual obligation on a licensee to implement technological measures to protect works against infringement. The ruling substantially adds to the construction of the relationship between linking and the right of communication to the public. It was pointed out that until now the question of whether contractual restrictions on access could be imposed by rights owners had not been explicitly addressed by the CJEU. The key aspect of the ruling centres on the conditions upon which contractual restrictions to linking can be imposed. The CJEU explicitly said that consent can be only limited by adopting technological measures. This ensures legal certainty and the proper functioning of the internet.

2. CJEU gives mixed ruling in Puma TM infringement case

The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed the majority of a complaint from sportswear brand Puma regarding a trademark application by German milling technology company CAMäleon. Puma’s opposition was related to CAMäleon’s application to trademark its PUMA-system, a computer-aided design software product, which the sportswear company claimed infringed on two of its sporting goods trademarks. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) had previously dismissed Puma’s actions, leading Puma to seek a hearing with the European general court to annul the decision and get the EUIPO to pay costs. The CJEU annulled part of the EUIPO’s decision that rejected Puma’s opposition to the registration of ‘PUMA-System’ as an EU trademark covering the goods and services in classes 7, 9, 16 and 42 of the Nice Agreement. The CJEU also dismissed the remainder of the opposition and ordered both PUMA and EUIPO to bear their own costs.

3. EasyGroup loses out over electric bike Trademark

EasyGroup, the holding company behind the “easy” family of brands including easyJet, has lost its bid to invalidate a trademark at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Automaker Auto Kelly successfully applied for the mark ‘EasyBike’ for goods and services related to electric bicycles in October 2019, after which easyGroup applied to invalidate the registration in March 2020. An ‘easy’ family of brands/ The company, owned by Stelios Haji-Ioannou, argued that the goods and services were identical and similar to its own goods and services covered by its earlier registered marks that included the word ‘easy”, and that there was a likelihood of consumer confusion. It held that easyGroup was formed in 1998 for the “purpose of formalising a strategy” to create an ‘easy’ family of brands, and claimed that its earlier marks all benefit from an “elevated distinctive character” due to the word mark ‘easy’. It argued that the disputed mark looked like an extension of its brands, which would cause consumers to establish a link between that mark and the earlier registrations, including ‘easyJet’ ‘easyCar’, ‘easyCoach’, ‘easyBus’ and ‘easyGroup’ . EasyGroup argued that by using the later mark, Auto Kelly would “free-ride” on its reputation without needing to invest time or marketing expense and that this use could diminish easyGroup’s reputation.

4. Australia to safeguard tech IP by policing foreign R&D

Australia has unveiled plans to expand the technologies in which international research and development (R&D) collaboration will face increased scrutiny to protect the country’s IP. While the country’s security agencies already probe foreign R&D collaboration on military technologies within universities, this scrutiny will now extend to other emerging technologies that present an IP theft risk. Burgess told the committee that ASIO had investigated clandestine attempts by foreign states to steal Australian IP, and the security agency had 60 interactions with universities last year when investigating this issue. China had been open about its ambition in technology research and its ambition to recruit people familiar with foreign technology and IP for its Thousand Talents Plan, and that this bid, “in itself” was “not concerning”.

5. Ludhiana Gets State’s First Intellectual Property Rights Facilitation Centre

The Central Government has recently approved an Intellectual Property Rights Facilitation Centre (IPRFC) for Ludhiana. The centre is all set to spread awareness about intellectual property rights among entrepreneurs, especially those connected with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). Though the government has sanctioned the centre for the city’ business body, Auto Parts’ Manufacturers’ Association (APMA), it will offer services to all other sectors as well in filing for patents, copyrights, trademarks, and industrial designs. Gurpreet Singh, a member of the MSME Board of India, Said the IPRFC would work for all types of industries, including auto, cycle tractor and sewing machine parts, machine tools, agricultural implements and hosiery, among others. 

6. Nokia Signs Patent License Pact With Samsung 

Nokia has recently struck a deal with Samsung to license patents covering its innovations in video standards, the Finnish telecom company said on Thursday. While the companies did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement, it is gathered that Samsung will make royalty payments to Nokia. The deal comes months after rival Ericsson filed a lawsuit in the United States against Samsung in a dispute over royalty payments and patent licenses. The U.S. International Trade Commission said last month that it would be opening an investigation after Ericsson claimed that Samsung had infringed on some of its patents in 4G and next generation 5G wireless cellular phones. 

7. Bombay HC directs Centre to decide representation seeking ‘compulsory licenses’ to two patented anti-TB drugs

The Central Government was directed by the Bombay High Court to pass an order on a representation asking for compulsory licenses to import anti TB drugs – Bedaquiline and Delamanid. This would be of great help to MDR and XDR TB patients. Once the compulsory license is operationalized, alternate producers will be allowed to offer more affordable generic versions of the drug to the National TB Elimination Programme at a more affordable price.

8. Actor Kangana Ranaut named in FIR over copyright infringement

An FIR was registered against Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut in the Khar Police Station with relation to Copyright Infringement following a Magistrate court’s order. The Bandra Magistrate court had directed the police to investigate the situation after a private complaint was lodged against her by Asish Kaul who is the author of the book ‘Didda: The Warrior Queen of Kashmir”. According to the complaint, Kaul is the copyright owner of the unique story and biopic on the nationalist side of Queen Didda, Allegedly, Kaul had sent an email that contained the story of his book to her. Portions of the book were used by her in a tweet while announcing her movie without the permission of the author.

Image Sources:

  1. Christian Lue on Unsplash
  2. Alex Moiseev on Unsplash
  3. Elio Santos on Unsplash
  4. Lachlan Fearnley on Wikimedia
  5. Nikhilb239 on Wikimedia.
  6. Nokia Corporation on Wikimedia.
  7. Markus Spiske On Unsplash.
  8. bollywoodhungama.com on Wikimedia.