In a decision dated October 19, The Moscow Arbitration Court barred Samsung Electronics from importing or selling 61 of their smartphone models in Russia. The decision was over a patent lawsuit filed by SQWIN SA, a Switzerland-based company, who claimed that the former’s mobile payment and digital wallet service, Samsung Pay infringed their existing electronic payment system, which was registered in Russia. The earlier ruling on the matter upheld the company’s claim of patent infringement, however, had not listed the device in question, leading to the current appeal that clarified the banned models.
In an attempt to hold on to full control of the Avengers characters, Disney’s Marvel Entertainment is known to have filed a number of lawsuits against the artists and illustrators involved with marquee characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor. The dispute is said to have started earlier this year when Marvel Entertainment was served with notices of copyright termination on behalf of Lawrence D. Lieber, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Gene Colan, and the heirs of the Ditko and Colan. The Copyright termination notice sought to reclaim the rights related to the Marvel characters the artists had a hand in creating, and included some of Disney’s star revenue generators such as Doctor Strange, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Blade, and the Wizard.
Marvel Entertainment is now seeking declaratory relief stating that the characters cannot be eligible for copyright termination as they were ‘made for hire’.
The 3-year-old legal battle over IP rights between Hydrogen Trucking company Nikola and Elon Musk’s Tesla has been given yet another chance to proceed in the Federal Court. The $2 billion lawsuit that was filed in 2018 by Nikola claims that Tesla’s semi-truck designs infringes a number of their design patents. While Tesla stated that claims to be meritless, Nikola in their complaint had mentioned how Tesla’s act of stealing their designs would rob the company $2 billion in market share. The case was to attain settlement in October this year, however, on receiving no response from either party, it was declared “administratively closed” by the federal judge.
The Karuppur Kalamkari paintings and the Kallakurichi carvings from Tamil Nadu were both granted Geographical Indication tags last week. While Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (TNHDC) was involved with moving the application for registering the Karuppur Kalamkari Paintings, the application for Kallakurichi Wood Carvings was jointly filed by TNHDC, Kallakurichi Wood Carving Handicrafts Industrial Cooperative Limited Society, and the Chinnasalem and Vriksha Association of Wood Carving Artisans self-help group.
Known to have deep traditional roots, the Karuppur Kalamkari paintings are made on cotton cloth using pens or brushes made from coconut or bamboo tree stems. The Kallakurichi wood carvings, at the same time, are intricate designs made by craftsmen mostly on temple-related items and other forms of furniture. The GI approval had been welcomed wholeheartedly by the craftsmen and artists in these fields.
The Dutch Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal by Adidas, ending its 25-year long dispute with Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) over the latter’s use of a two-stripe mark. The dispute dates back to 1997 when Adidas had filed a trademark lawsuit against H&M in connection with its striped athletic wear. The Supreme Court’s decision dismisses Adidas’ claim of prohibition over the use of stripes of equal width that run parallel to each other at a distance that “visually looks more or less as wide as the width of the stripes themselves”. The court was of the view that H&M’s two-striped apparel did not infringe Adidas’ three-striped logo in any manner.
The decision upholds the earlier decision by the Hague Court of Appeal in January 2021 which had recognized a lack of consumer confusion about the source of H&M’s striped workout apparel.
A recent special report by Reuters revealed that Amazon India’s systematic targeting of popular Indian brands in a bid to boost the visibility of its private-label brands against rivals. According to the special report, Amazon India copied products from manufacturers on its platform and also rigged search results for the benefit of its private-label brands. A leaked 2016 Amazon document entitled ‘India Private Brands Program’ provides a basis to the findings of the Reuters report according to which Amazon employees strategized to partner with manufacturers of products targeted for copying. This strategy employed to learn manufacturers’ unique processes was dubbed as ‘tribal knowledge’ in the document.
Newslaundry, an independent news media company, has claimed that its YouTube operations have been halted after the India Today group reported it multiple times for copyright infringement. Aaj Tak of the India Today group is known to have issued 53 distinct copyright notices on the matter that are yet to be enquired into. The disputed videos included clips of the coverage of Aaj Tak’s reportage on various issues. Abhinandan Sekhri, co-founder and chief executive officer of Newslaundry, denied that a copyright violation exists if a news website uses footage of another news organization to critique, comment on, or analyze the news itself. Newslaundry has sent a legal response to YouTube in this regard.
YouTube follows a copyright strike system where if a copyright owner claims infringement over any material on its servers, it takes down the video. The alleged infringer then receives a notice (or a ‘strike’), and, if the uploading account receives multiple strikes, YouTube terminates the account, removes all of their videos, and permanently blocks them.
The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (Ministry of Commerce and Industry) on 21st September 2021 amended the 2003 Patents Rules and replaced it with Patents Rule, 2021. This amendment has reduced the patent fees for all educational institutions by 80%, a benefit which was earlier only available to recognized educational institutions owned by the government. The need for this amendment can be seen in the official release issued by the Commerce & Industry Ministry, which stated, “These (educational) institutions engage in many research activities, where professors, teachers, and students generate several new technologies which need to be patented for facilitating commercialization of the same. High patenting fees present a restrictive element for getting these technologies patented and thus work as a disincentive for development of new technologies.”
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