1) McDonald’s files trademarks for virtual restaurants in metaverse

The world’s largest fast-food chain – McDonald’s has filed trademark applications to set up restaurant chains in the metaverse. The trademarks have been filed for “virtual food and beverage products” with a few mentions of “home delivery” and other features. 

The company which has over thirty-nine thousand outlets in over a hundred countries promises to deliver food to people offline – based on shopping in the metaverse. Surrounding the claim, about 10 applications have been filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in early February. The company’s trademark lawyer Josh Gerben asserts that a hungry metaverse user need just walk into a meta-restaurant and place their order to get a real package of food delivered at their doorstep. Gerben opines that such filings will increase dramatically in the years ahead; especially now that metaverse platforms like Horizon worlds, Decetralands etc have opened up.

2) Action Against Infringement Need Of Hour, Says Chief Justice NV Ramana

At the National Seminar for adjudication of IPR issues stressing on the need to vamp up judicial infrastructure, and to bring about greater enforcement of IPR, Chief Justice N. V. Ramanan made several remarks and observations. 

Commenting on GI enforcement, he used the examples of the economic success attained by Darjeeling tea and Chanderi silk to assert that other Geographical Indications must also strive to create similar success stories. 

The CJI remarked at the expanding role played by IP jurisprudence post-economic liberalization in India. Further, the imminent and central role played by IP regimes when it comes to issues such as the price of drugs was spoken about. The Chief Justice opined that the vesting of IP jurisdiction from High Courts to Intellectual Property Appellate Boards comes at a crucial time of overburdened High Courts and lack in proper judicial infrastructure. 

The Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman – who also attended the event talked of the notable increase of patent filings since 2014, from 4000 per year to 28000. She added that this confidence has reflected even in the trademark applications – which has hit a figure of about 2.5 lakhs.  

3) Nykaa Settles Copyright Infringement Litigation With L’Oreal, Stocks Rally Post News

In November 2019, the French Cosmetic giant, L’Oréal had filed a civil suit against Nykaa in the District Court of Delhi. L’Oréal had cited similarity of Nykaa’s certain packaging items with its trademark ‘Maybelline’ brand, prompting an alleged infringement of intellectual property rights lawsuit. 

A previous ex-parte order was passed to which Nykaa had filed an appeal. To prevent a long-drawn legal battle, the two companies opted for settlement negotiation.

Under the new settlement terms, the modified artwork adopted by Nykaa has been approved by L’Oréal. In addition to this, L’Oréal will also press for reliefs of damages, rendition of accounts and any costs against Nykaa. According to the agreement, both parties will also not make any claims against each other or claims relating to the payment of costs or charges in relation to the settlement.

4) Apple patents Magic keyboard that has an integrated Mac inside

Apple has filed a patent for what is termed as a “Magic Keyboard” – an electronic concept of a keyboard with a computer inside it. Reportedly, this keyboard might also come with a trackpad within to avoid carrying a mouse. The device is said to bring competition with the current personal computer desktops and laptops.

The patent has been published by the United States Trademark and Patent Office recently, after Apple filed for it in August 2020. As of now, there is no confirmation if it will actually be launched by the company or not.

5) Federal appeals court allows registration of trademark Trump Too Small

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday allowed the registration of the trademark “Trump Too Small,” finding that the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) refusal to register the trademark violated the applicant’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The applicant, Steve Elster, had applied to register the trademark with the USPTO in January 2018 to be used on shirts. The Application made by Elster was initially rejected by the USPTO on two grounds. First, it found that the mark was not registrable because Section 2(c) of the Lanham Act 15 USC § 1052(c) bars using the name of a living individual without their consent. Second, they found that using his name suggested a false connection with Trump, which is barred by 15 USC § 1052(a). The Federal Circuit in the appeal found the applicant Steve Elster’s First Amendment right to criticize a public, political figure superseded Trump’s interests of privacy and publicity. It also noted that Trump’s publicity rights were not violated as Elster was not commercially exploiting Trump’s name.

6) Black Women’s Business Network Helps Smash Trademark Hurdles

Shanae Jones, the owner of hip-hop, inspired Ivy’s Tea Co., a herbal tea business was the first person to receive a business grant from the non-profit Buy From A Black Woman. She filed for a trademark registration only after four years of the inception of her business because she couldn’t afford to earlier. This registration went on to aid in her winning a trademark infringement lawsuit. Recognizing the inability of Black Women Entrepreneurs to bear the cost of trademark registration, she has gone on to fund the first trademark grant of the group Buy From A Black Woman. Educational videos provide information on why the registrations are necessary, giving them resources, access, and understanding that the group says is otherwise lacking in the mostly white, male intellectual property field.

7) Moderna faces patent infringement suit for COVID-19 vaccine

Alleging patent infringement, Arbutus Biopharma Corp has filed a lawsuit against Moderna Inc. seeking royalties from the sale of the popular COVID-19 vaccine. In the suit, Arbutus contends that Moderna used their drug delivery mechanism without their permission. This mechanism delivers instructions to cells to make the spike protein that triggers an immune response from the body. Arbutus has submitted that patents regarding the lipid nanoparticles (LNP) that enclose the mRNA were developed by and licensed to a joint venture between itself and Roivant Sciences Ltd- Genevant Sciences GmbH. The suit mentions that Moderna had obtained the license to Arbutus’s LNP technology only for specific viral targets which didn’t include the COVID-19 virus. The lawsuit follows Moderna’s ModernaTX losing an appeal that upheld the validity of two of the six Arbutus patents at issue in the present lawsuit. However, Moderna has strongly denied all claims. 

8) Copyright lawsuit against M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant revived

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit against M Night Shyamalan’s Apple TV+ show The Truth About Emanuel, thus reviving the case. The court found the dismissal of the lawsuit at an early stage to be “improper”.

In 2020, director Francesca Gregorini had filed a lawsuit against Apple, Shyamalan, and his production company Blinding Edge Pictures alleging that the first three episodes of Servant infringed on her movie The Truth About Emanuel. The suit put forward that the Apple TV+ show was a “brazen copy” of the movie. However, the suit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge John Walter in Los Angeles finding the similarities to be “pale in comparison”.  Servant and The Truth About Emanuel both explore the story of a grieving mother who forms an attachment to a realistic doll and is accompanied by a teenage nanny. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted that “reasonable minds could differ” regarding the similarities of the stories. 


Image Sources:

1) Flag of McDonald’s by SilentSpike

2) CJI at Wikimedia Commons

3) Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

4) Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

5) Ethan Miller on GETTY Images

6) Nikki Porcher on Buy From A Black Woman

7) Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

8) James Yarema on Unsplash