1) Himachal’s ‘Chamba Chappals’ and Lahauli Socks, Gloves given GI tag

Himachal Pradesh’s renowned handicraft slippers Chamba Chappal has been granted the Geographical Indication Tag. With a rich heritage dating back to the Rajas of Chamba, the slippers are crafted from pure leather. The state’s popular Lahauli hand knitted woollen socks and gloves have also received the Geographical Indication tag. The GI accreditation will boost the market potential of Chamba Chappals and Lahaul Knitted Socks and Gloves. Unauthorised production and misuse of the name of Chamba Chappal and Lahauli Knitted Socks and Gloves will be prevented by discouraging production of these products in locations different from their place of origin.

Culture rich Himachal Pradesh has several other indigenous products that has been granted the GI tag including the Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Himachali Kalazeera and more. Himachal Pradesh is the first state to introduce a policy for registration of geographical indications of native products to protect the interests of artisans and local entrepreneurs.


2) Brazil begins accepting Position Trademarks

The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO) has begun accepting applications for position trademarks. The introduction of the new registration category which provides an additional level of protection to brands has come followed by months of public discussions held by the BPTO. Before this development, a separate filing for position trademarks didn’t exist, and therefore brands looking for trademark position protections indirectly registered for figurative and 3-D marks.

Position trademarks identify the distinct manner in which a mark is arranged or applied to a product and allow the product to be distinguishable among similar marks. The mark is assigned to a specific location on the product and doesn’t have a functional benefit. For e.g., Adidas three stripes is a renowned position trademark.

Belgian brand Kipling, well known for its bags and backpacks has taken the lead and become the first to file a trademark application in Brazil for a position mark.


3) Republic Records sues ‘Republic’ investment platform over trademarks

Republic Records Label (owned by Universal Music Group), which manages artists like Taylor Swift, Drake etc., sued online investment platform Republic (owned by OpenDeal Inc.) in a trademark infringement case. It asked for a court order to block Republic from using its name for music-related services. Universal Music Group is alleging OpenDeal of trying to create a false association between the two companies by using the “Republic” mark on services that record labels usually provide, including giving fans access to music, tickets, and merchandise, according to the complaint. The parties had discussed a settlement throughout October, but Republic dropped out of the talks and launched the service on Nov 4. This launch included a manifesto that said the company aims to cut out record labels and help artists avoid “unfair contracts,” mentioning Swift’s dispute with her former label. Swift being one of UMG’s artists, shows that this reference is evidence of further possible confusion.


4) Maradona to be benched in EA’s FIFA 22 after trademark dispute

The Argentine justice recognized Sattvica as the owner of the trademark rights of Diego Armando Maradona. Sattvica is a company established by Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla. The court has precautionarily ordered the electronic games company EA (Electronic Arts) Sports to withdraw the image of Maradona from FIFA 22. EA had negotiated a deal to use Maradona’s name and likeness rights with his former manager, Stéfano Ceci, who could not prove that he had legal powers to sign such an agreement. As of writing, Maradona is still available in both FIFA 21 and FIFA 22 via Ultimate Team, with no word from EA as if or when his likeness will be removed from its games.


5) U.S. Supreme Court questions H&M’s bid to sew up copyright win

Unicolors, a US-based fabric design company, raised traction in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Monday by claiming that they should not have lost the copyright infringement suit against Sweden company Hennes & Mauritz (H&M).

Unicolors sued Sweden-based H&M in 2016 over a jacket that it said copied its fabric-design copyright. Previously ruled in favour of Unicolours, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decisions based on inaccuracies in Unicolors’ federal copyright registration. It said the application didn’t meet the U.S. Copyright Office’s requirements, that Unicolors knew this when it applied, and whether it meant to defraud the copyright office was irrelevant.

Unicolors, in the SCOTUS, argued that they had misunderstood the law and that the decision of the 9th Circuit should be reversed to protect the larger interest of small artists, authors and lay-people against IP theft rather than “demanding perfect compliance to complex legal requirements.”


6) U.S. warns against IP, trade secret risks in draft EU tech rules – paper

The US Government warns against the Draft landmark EU rules released in December 2020. These rules require U.S. tech giants to share information with rivals, which the government claims, could put companies’ intellectual property and trade secrets at risk.

The rules primarily utilise two rules, The Digital Market Act as well as the Digital Services Act to rein in tech giants and raise accountability through strict compliance and fines. Further concerns are raised about the same in the paper.

The rules should clarify the geographic scope of a platform’s obligation to take down illegal content, the paper said, amid worries that an EU country may issue a pan-European order.


7) WIPO Report Shows Economic Resilience During Pandemic, Buoyed by Massive Numbers of Chinese Patent, Trademark Filings

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s 2021 report tracks the latest trends of IP filings across the globe. Showcasing a resilient growth in them, the filings show an increase especially in trademark filings across the world. China dominates the turf with the largest number of Intellectual Property filings.

The global shoot up in filings has been around 13.7 percent in the year 2020, nearing about 17.2 million global applications; out of which, China alone contributes over 9.3 million – much ahead of the United States that comes second in the race. China’s domination is largely because of its domestic applications, with itself also leading in plant varieties and industrial design IP rights; however, in the context of Geographical Indications, it comes in second place behind Germany.


8) Gujarat govt wins case over trademark rights for ‘Sardar’

The Gujarat government’s PSU, Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC) won the case against Dashrath Patel of Indian Agro Chemicals in a trademark infringement suit against the use of the word ‘Sardar’.

The industrial unit had released a product by the name ‘Sardar Seven Star’, and, in the year 2020, the GSFC filed this trademark infringement suit as it had been using the registered label of ‘Sardar’ since 1967. The PSU even sought damages of 1 crore rupees, with interest at 12% per annum.

In the court, Indian Agro Chemicals backed off from its claim over the name and clarified that it had abstained from using the words Sardar and Sarkar as soon as it realised that the same might land itself in trouble.


Image Sources 

  1. Outlook India
  2. Wikimedia Commons
  3. Brad Stallcup on Unsplash 
  4. Jack Hunter on Unsplash
  5. Sei on Unsplash 
  6. Szabo Viktor on Unsplash
  7. Emmanuel Berrod on Wikimedia Commons
  8. Government of India Work on Wikimedia Commons