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IP News Update: January 2023

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

1. BAYC’s Non-Fungible Tokens not Registered under the Copyright Regime

Yuga Labs, the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and a successful NFT business, revealed that they have not registered any of their 10,000 NFT artworks. The company made this declaration in an ongoing suit against artist Rider Ripps for the unauthorized selling of spin-off BAYC artworks on a domain called RR/BAYC. Though the US law does not require registration for awarding copyright law, it does mandate registration for being able to enforce the said right. However, it is significant that the claims in the suit are not based on copyright infringement but on trademark infringement, false advertising, and cybersquatting.


2. Zara sues LA-based Thilikó for Copyright Infringement over Images


Thilikó, a supposed ethical and slow fashion brand, has come under fire for using pictures owned by Zara for marketing their products. The former brand is also appearing to have copied its “about” page and its content from other popular brands such as Nanushka and Behno. All-in-all, there seems to be no legitimate justification for all the copying done, and speculations of the brand not being ethical as claimed are also being leveled.


3. Dr.Dre Retaliates with a Cease-and-Desist against the use of his Music for Politics


US Republican politician Marjorie Taylor Greene has faced some backlash for using Dr.Dre’s song “Still D.R.E.” for her Twitter political campaign. The rapper requested a takedown immediately and succeeded in taking the video down within 4 hours. He additionally served a strongly-worded cease and desist notice against the politician stating that he would never license his music to someone like Greene. In a heated back and forth, Greene countered by stating that she just enjoyed the “chord progression” of the song but would never support Dr.Dre’s regressive lyrics.


4. “Adidas does not own stripes”, Thom Browne Inc’s Attorney in a Successful Lawsuit

Adidas made an attempt to enforce its three-striped trademark against the luxury clothing brand Thom Browne through a lawsuit. The Manhattan Southern District Court jury found no trademark infringement on various grounds, including that the two brands were not actually competing in the same market and that Adidas had approved the use of the four-stripe design by the brand a decade ago. The two parties share a rocky history since Adidas had also opposed Thom Browne’s design in the EUIPO and the USPTO.


5. Iconic “100% that Bitch” Tweet Receives Trademark Protection

Lizzo, a well-known American pop star, has successfully received trademark protection over her iconic lyrics, “100% that Bitch,” appearing in her song, “Truth Hurts”. On discovering her interest to enter the clothing and merchandising market, Lizzo sought to protect this tagline. Having applied for registration in 2019, the application went through rejections for lacking distinctiveness and was appealed thereafter, and has finally been awarded protection.


6. Nokia and Samsung join Forces Through Patent Licensing

Nokia, having over 4,500 successful patents in 5G technology, has entered into a patent licensing agreement with the technology giant, Samsung. The two companies have released statements regarding this welcomed move and reiterated that they are fostering innovation and growth in the field of 5G technology. Though the exact terms of the agreements are not made public, it has been clarified that Samsung will be paying royalties to Nokia over a multi-year period. The previous license had expired in 2022 and new terms were negotiated immediately for renewing the license.


7. Samsung Resorts to Settlement in Response to the Lawsuit filed by Nanoco

The quantum dot technology utilized by Samsung in its QLED TV was alleged to be an infringing use of a patent owned by British nanotechnology company, Nanoco Technologies. Litigations ongoing in the US, Germany, and China are to come to an end as the two parties entered into a “transformative” licensing agreement for $150 million. The statement released by Nanoco also mentions the “transfer of certain parts” of the patent, however, no further details are revealed to the public.


8. Kolkata Professor Receives Patent Grant over a Medical Device

Dr.Sudip Das, a professor at the Medical College Hospital Kolkata has received a patent grant for his game-changing invention. An invention is a tool that helps retrieve round and slippery foreign objects from the esophagus. Having originally been conceptualized in 2009, Dr.Sudip presented the paper in 2012 and worked on improving his model multiple times through various clinical trials. On being satisfied with the final invention and all the modifications, a patent application was filed in 2016.


9. Spicy Trademark Battle in the Delhi High over Schezwan Chutney

Capital Foods, the proprietor of the “Chings” brand filed a suit against Radius Indus Chem over trademark infringement of their mark “Schezwan Chutney”. Capital Foods submitted that they had trademarked the term since 2016 and sought injunctive relief at the Delhi High Court. The Single Judge rejected the claim, holding that the term was merely descriptive and lacked distinctiveness. However, the Division Bench granted the interim relief as the defendant had also copied the trade dress and other copyrightable content from the plaintiff.


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