1) India top nation to get edtech patents

Gurgaon-based Intellectual Property research and consulting firm, Sagacious IP stated on Monday that India has emerged as the leading nation in educational technology patents. The report mentions that patent ownership is a reflection of the developmental capability and innovation of companies. 

The report furnishes a list of top companies in the domain that have made patent filings. These include – Microsoft Corporation, Mesbro Technology, SRM institute, and several tech and research institutions. Microsoft leads the charts with a total of 12 filings. The report also noted that India has received a substantial number of applications from foreign origin sources, including USA, Korea, and Japan. 

The list also flaunts an assortment of new ed-tech startups and private institutions committed to the domain.  

2) ResearchGate dealt a blow in copyright lawsuit

In a suit against ResearchGate, the European academic research website, a Munich (Germany) Court has passed a prohibition order along with a charge of copyright infringement. The lawsuit was filed by Amsterdam-based Elsevier and the American Chemical Society. 

The suit surrounded an alleged infringement of fifty papers that ResearchGate hosted without requisite licenses. The verdict, says the petitioners’ counsel, clarifies the responsibilities of ResearchGate as a content hosting website. They claim that such illicit distribution was with an underlying motive for commercial gain. Quite contrastingly, the spokesperson for ResearchGate has expressed their pleasure at the fact that ACS and Elsevier sought the complaint redressal mechanism that they host. 

ResearchGate added that their strong conviction lies in the ideal of sharing and spreading scientific research as widely as possible. The group has also informed through a public statement that they will be moving for an appeal against parts of the decision.

3) Russia allows businesses to steal patents from “unfriendly” countries

Amidst the ongoing Russia – Ukraine war, the former has, by a new decree, given legal validity to patent theft from any person affiliated with non-ally/ (“unfriendly”) nations. Such unauthorized use will hereby not be compensated. Subsequently, the possibility of lifting selected trademark restrictions has also begun circulating in the sphere. 

Listed among the nine “priority watch list” in the previous year, Russia has been subject to criticism for violations of patent rights on several instances – especially by the US Government. The implication of this new decree is that Russian entries can no longer be sued for certain patent infringements. The effect of this will vary across companies and industries. 

Experts opine that the said measure will repel more investments and will make stakeholders apprehensive of Intellectual Property violations. However, the Russian ministry maintains that the said measure intends to minimize and mitigate the impact of supply chain breaks and shortages in goods and services as a result of new economic sanctions against Russia. 

4) Delhi High Court passes John Doe order for blocking websites illegally using Dabur trademark

The Delhi High Court has granted interim relief in the form of a John Doe injunction to Dabur against illegal usage of its domain name. Several domains of the company such as https://www.daburdistributor.com, https://daburdistributorships.in, and www.daburfranchisee.in have been taken down. 

The case involved the usage of domain names including the illegal use of the word Dabur. The High Court opined that the case was not one of mere infringement but of one that intended a complete impersonation of the plaintiff’s products. As the identity of the domain owner was unknown the relief could have only been a John Doe injunction order. Noting that similar practice of concealing domain names was seen to have increasingly resorted, the court directed the Centre to disclose its stand on privacy matters as such. 

Considering the long and sustained reputation of Dabur, the Court found it against the public interest to keep the websites functional. The Department of Trade and MEITY were instructed to issue directions to ISPs to block all websites with the word Dabur – other than that of the plaintiff. 

5) Olympic Figure Skaters and NBC sued by Musical duo over copyright infringement

A lawsuit was filed against the American Broadcasting Company NBC, U.S. figure skating and figure skaters Alexa Knierim, and Brandon Frazier alleging violation of copyright by the musical group Heavy Young Heathens.

Brothers Robert and Aron Marderosia of Heavy Young Heathens have complained that the figure skaters Knierim and Frazier skated to their version of the traditional folk song “House of the Rising Sun” used in the trailer for the 2016 film “The Magnificent Seven” without their permission at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. NBC has been accused of copyright infringement by broadcasting it.

The figure skaters had used the song in their short program in their performance which contributed to the U.S.’ silver medal in the team figure skating event. In the lawsuit, the musical group has put forward that the “House of the Rising Sun” is a valuable licensing asset for them and has asked the court for money damages, and to block any future infringement by the defendants. 

6) COVID Vaccine Waiver Plan Welcomed by WTO

A provisional deal to waive patent rights for vaccines for COVID-19 has received WTO’s praise following a year of deadlock. The main elements of the waiver were agreed upon by the USA, the European Union, India, and South Africa. The deal is now required to be backed by the 164 members of WTO which takes decisions based on complete consensus.

The agreement would empower countries to permit domestic manufacturers to produce COVID-19 vaccines without patent-holder consent for three or five years. However, only developing countries that account for less than 10% of global exports of COVID-19 shots in 2021 would be conferred such ability through the agreement.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonio-Iweala noted the plan for the waiver as a “…major step forward” However, global drugmakers who form part of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) have exclaimed worry that the agreement would undermine their ability to respond to future crisis.

Amid the health crisis of COVID-19, poorer nations were forced to face the challenges of vaccine shortage, limits on cold-chain storage, vaccine hesitancy, and inadequate funds for distribution.

7) Delhi HC Grants Ex-Parte Injunction In Trademark Infringement Suit By ‘VOLVO’

The Delhi Court has granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction to the plaintiffs – the owners of registered trademarks ‘VOLVO’ and ‘FMX’. The Court observed that the defendant Lamina Suspension Products Limited infringed the Plaintiffs’ statutory and common law rights by using an identical mark as the Plaintiffs’ registered trademarks ‘VOLVO’ and ‘FMX’.

The Plaintiffs initiated a suit filed for a permanent injunction to restrain the defendant from using the marks registered in the Plaintiff’s name. They contended that ‘Volvo’ had been declared as a well-known mark as defined under Section 2(I)(zg) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 in the case Aktiebolaget Volvo of Sweden vs. Volvo Steels Ltd. of Gujarat (India). They submitted that the defendants were supplying their infringing goods across India via direct orders as well as through the e-commerce portal IndiaMart. In its judgment, the Court noted that “The Plaintiffs have made out a prima facie case. Balance of convenience lies in favour of the Plaintiffs, and they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in case the injunction, as prayed for, is not granted,”

8) Katy Perry wins in Dark Horse copyright appeal

A federal appeals court has decided that Katy Perry is not liable to pay $2.8 million in a copyright infringement case. Rapper Marcus Gray (Flame) sued Katy Perry in 2014, accusing her of plagiarising an eight-note riff from his track Joyful Noise for her track Dark Horse. A Los Angles jury in 2019 agreed and awarded Flame and two other plaintiffs $2.8 million from Katy Perry and the label representing her. However, this judgment was overturned in 2020, stating that Katy Perry did not infringe any independently protectable musical elements. The appeals court has sided with this verdict noting that the contentious eight-note pattern in Dark Horse, known as ostinato, consisted “entirely of commonplace musical elements” that lacked the “quantum of originality” needed for copyright protection. 

 

Image Sources: 

  1. Image on MaxPixel
  2. Marco Verch Professional Photographer on Flickr
  3. Russian flag by Luiza Giannelli 
  4. Delhi High Court Website 
  5. Michael Madrid for USA Today Sports
  6. Monica Mwangi for Reuters
  7. Adam Cai on Unsplash 
  8. Kueckhovener on Pixabay