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IP News Updates: August 2023

  • AI-generated Artwork Cannot Receive Copyright Registration: US Court

The Federal District Court of Columbia has ruled that AI-generated artworks cannot receive copyright registration. The case involved an attempt to register copyright on work created by a computer program called “Creativity Machine”, which possesses“artificial intelligence” (“AI”) capable of generating original visual art. The Judge held that a work without human involvement cannot be registered under the US copyright regime. Read the entire Judgment here.

  • Playing Bollywood Songs at Weddings Without a License is not Copyright Infringement

The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has recently issued a public notice stating that playing Bollywood songs at marriage ceremonies and related festivities would not invite action over copyright infringement. This Directive comes as a response to the plea made by the hospitality industry to the DPIIT pertaining to the issue of copyright societies demanding license fee payment for playing Bollywood songs at weddings. The DPIIT clarified that playing songs in such events was well protected under the fair dealing provision. Read the DPIIT notice here.

  • New Balance Files a Lawsuit Against Golden Goose

New Balance, a US-based Athletic Footwear and Fitness Apparel company, filed a lawsuit against the Italian high fashion sneaker brand, Golden Goose, alleging trade dress infringement of its iconic 990 sneakers. New Balance filed the complaint in Massachusetts' district court, alleging that Golden Goose's Dad-Star shoe is a deliberate attempt to "foster a perceived association between its products and New Balance in the minds of consumers."

  • Google’s Trademark use Under its Ads Programme may Lead to Infringement

The Delhi High Court has ruled that Google’s Ad program that displays advertisers' sponsored links and search query results may amount to trademark infringement. Google being an intermediary, enjoys legal immunity under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 from actions of third-party companies on its platforms. However, the Delhi High Court has held that it provides the keywords, selects the recipients of the information having the infringing links, and actively participates in the misuse of trademarks. Accordingly, safe harbour status will not apply to Google for such uses.

  • Nike Just Did It!

Nike Inc., an American athletic footwear and apparel corporation, has convinced the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) that its mark “SNKRS” has acquired distinctiveness - hence eligible for Trademark registration. Nike launched a unique app called “SNKRS” that alerts customers about the release of limited edition and special products. Post the app’s release, it applied to register the mark, “SNKRS” in 2020. However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office Examiners rejected Nike's bids to register the trademarks in 2021 stating that "SNKRS" was generic as it was the phonetic equivalent of the word "sneakers." However, the TTAB has overruled this decision and allowed Nike to register its mark.

  • Apple Files a New Patent for Smart Rings

Apple Inc. has filed a new patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a “Ring Input Device with Pressure-Sensitive Input.” The smart ring is an emerging wearable segment. A few firms such as Qura (US), Ultrahuman (India), Pi Ring (India), Noise, and BoAt, were in the talks for inventions relating to Smart Rings. It has been discussed that the new Apple ring can be used to control smart devices at home, notify messages via haptic feedback, and possibly track health too.

  • Goa Mankur Mango Gets GI Tag

Goa Mankur Mango, also called Goa Mancurad or Goa Alphonso recently received the Geographical Indication tag. The mango is unique for its sweet taste, juicy pulp, thin skin, and pleasant aroma. It is regarded as one of the finest mango varieties in India. The variety was initially called “Malcorada” by the Portuguese, which means ‘poor colored.’ However, it later evolved into “Mankurad Aamo” in Konkani.

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