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IP News Updates: January 2022

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

  • Sundar Pichai Dragged to Court Over Copyright Infringement

The well-known filmmaker Suneel Darshan filed a complaint against YouTube for enabling copyright infringement of his film “Ek Haseena Thi, Ek Dewaana Tha”. The Filmmaker had discovered an unauthorized copy of his movie on YouTube. It was alleged that YouTube was unresponsive and unhelpful when the filmmaker made efforts to take down the unauthorized uploads of his film on the platform. As a result, a criminal complaint was filed (as allowed by the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957) in Mumbai on the 26th of January 2022.

  • EUIPO creates a €47 Million fund to support Small and Mid-size Enterprises to protect their Intellectual Property

The EUIPO, along with the European Commission launched an SME Fund of €47 Million to empower SMEs to protect their Intellectual Property Rights. This is the second fund launched for aiding SMEs in COVID-19 recovery and green and digital transitions. The fund is set to be available for the next three years. Among others, the fund is dedicated towards reimbursements for services such as IP scan, trademark & design registration, and international trademark & patent registration.

  • Australian Aboriginal Flag now belongs to the Commonwealth

Luritja Artist Harold Thomas recently transferred his copyright over the famous Australian aboriginal flag to the Commonwealth for public use. The flag was originally designed and made public in 1970 and was meant to represent the native people of Australia and their connection to their lands. The artist reluctantly decided to make it public after long-drawn negotiations with the Australian government hoping that the people would use it unaltered and unrestricted.

  • UAE becomes a Signatory to NICE Agreement

The United Arab Emirates joined WIPO’s Nice Agreement this January. This step is a part of UAE’s measures to integrate its trade systems and IP protection internationally. The plan was set forth in September when the UAE submitted its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol. Further, the UAE Ministry of Economy plans to release a functional body of guidelines consisting of procedures for implementing the Madrid Protocol locally. UAE is the third country from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) following Bahrain and Oman to become a part of the Madrid System.

  • User Authentication to be introduced in AirPods according to its new patent

Apple intends to introduce a system of user authentication that does not require any sort of biometric data on its AirPods. Titled “User Authentication Using Headphones”, the patent describes a system that measures “Similarity Score”, where a high score authenticates the user. Apple expressed that this solves the issue of unauthorized users remotely listening in to private updates and information broadcasted through the connected device.

  • Maharashtra tops the list for most patents filed in India in 2019-20

While Punjab witnessed the highest growth in the number of patents filed from the previous year (at 117%), Maharashtra still remains on the top for the most number of patents filed by recording 4741. It is followed by Tamil Nadu ( 3546 patent applications) and Karnataka (with 2230 patent applications). In total, 56267 applications were filed in India reflecting an 11.1% increase from the previous years. The majority of 56,267 applications were filed by foreign entities.

  • Meghan Markle wins Copyright Infringement suit against UK News Outlet

In a three-year-long copyright infringement battle, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has emerged victorious. The suit was initiated against the UK News Outlet, Associated Newspaper Limited over “invasion of privacy” claims among other copyright infringement claims. Numerous arguments stating that the palace officials were involved in the authoring of the piece were made to justify the actions of the UK News Outlet but to no avail. The court ordered them to pay a sum of undisclosed amount to Meghan Markle and to publish about their loss in the suit on their front page.

  • China prohibits Parties from Entering into Exclusive Copyright Deals with Digital Platforms

In an attempt to curb monopolistic practices in the country, the Chinese government has placed a ban on exclusive copyright deals between Chinese citizens and digital platforms such as Spotify and iTunes. The National Copyright Administration of China ordered the same at a meeting with influential digital music platforms. Earlier, Tencent Holdings was directed to end all its exclusive music license deals as it was observed to create unfair competition in the market.

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