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IP News Updates: April, 2022.

  • Temporary Waiver regarding Covid-19 Vaccines and Patents.

A compromise has been reached amongst India, European Union, South Africa and the United States regarding the IPR waiver for Covid-19 related products. Under the compromise, a developing country with less than 10 percent of global exports of vaccine doses in 2021 will be allowed to manufacture a patented vaccine without the patent owner's permission.

  • The Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill, 2022 Introduced in Lok Sabha

Congress leader and MP (Lok Sabha, Thiruvananthapuram) Shashi Tharoor introduced The Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill, 2022 in the Lok Sabha. This Bill proposes a new kind of protection for traditional knowledge and culture, without any proprietary rights involved. This protection would be granted without regard to intellectual property rights and the Union of India would have the absolute rights over the Traditional Knowledge, while its previous holders or communities shall be deemed to be Custodians of the same.

  • Delhi HC dismisses the ‘Formalite Digestive Biscuits’ Infringement Suit

Britannia Industries had filed an infringement suit against ITC Ltd., alleging similarity in the packaging of their Digestive biscuits. The Delhi High Court passed a dismissal order stating that ITC Ltd. did not have any registered trademarks in respect of the impugned packaging, while Britannia Industries had registered its entire package as a trademark under class 30. However, they did not make any separate registration of the "red" and "yellow" colour combination, even though such colour combination could be registered under the Trademark Act, 1999.

  • Supreme Court of India discusses the issue of mandatory licensing of Covid-related products.

The Supreme Court has recently passed an order which establishes a flexible compulsory licensing regime in relation to the patented drugs and vaccines used during Covid-19. The Court stated that the decision of any such licensing possibility lies in the hands of the Central Government to ensure that licensing of these necessities is done in a fair and equitable manner.

  • Madras HC passes an order of Injunction for a patented invention that improves kidney functions.

In the patent infringement suit filed by Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. and Kibow Biotech Inc. against La Renon HealthCare Pvt. Ltd. and Stanford Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. (the defendants), Madras HC ordered an interim injunction upon manufacturing and selling of the patented invention of the latter. The impugned invention was patented as a method to ‘Augment Kidney Function’. The Defendants had also previously filed an application to have the Plaintiffs' disputed patent revoked before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), but that application was rejected. A special leave petition was also filed by the defendants before the Supreme Court, requesting dismissal of the case.

  • Pune Academicians push for an amendment in the Copyright Act to include Digital resources.

Pune Academicians have been pushing for an amendment in the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. They state that there is a prevalent need to amend the 1957 Act in order to ensure compliance with the developments in technology, especially digital media. The provisions being demanded were regarding digital education which incorporates open educational resources, digital resources and their sharing/lending, etc. The academicians cited specific developments in the contemporary era which instigate the need for such amendments. These developments include the shift to the online sphere as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as introduction of new technological concepts such as NFTs, Artificial Intelligence, Cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain technology.

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