IP News Updates: November, 2021.
Gujarat Government acquires the rights for ‘Sardar’ Trademark.
The Gujarat State Government had recently filed for registration of the title ‘sardar’ in inference to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The implications of the same involved alteration in the name of a product branded by the Dashrath Patel of Indian Agro Chemicals as ‘Sardar Seven Star’. The Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd (GSFC) filed a trademark suit with the Ahmedabad rural court in Mirzapur in September 2020 claiming that it enjoys trademark rights over the word ‘Sardar’ for various fertilizer and chemical products because it has had a registered label since 1967. The Trademark was granted to the Gujarat State Government and Indian Agro Chemicals accepted the ruling by removing the word ‘Sardar’ and replacing it with ‘Sarkar. But due to the phonetic similarity, it was removed too. The company has assured the court that it is not using any disputed trademarks for its products.
Nike files trademark applications for digital goods
The well-known sports brand, Nike, filed seven t ‘intend-to-use’ trademark applications in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect its marks in categories including “downloadable virtual goods” and related services for retail stores and entertainment. These digital goods include headwear, eyewear, bags, backpacks and sports equipment under both the Nike and Jordan brands, with their logos the Swoosh and the Jumpman and the “Just Do It” tagline.
Subway files a suit refuting taxability of IPR
Subway has filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the summons to pay GST on their IPR. It is alleged that the tax department’s summons are also without due process. It was also claimed that these summons were issued in spite of explaining to the tax authorities that an advance ruling application is pending. Hearing Subway’s petition, the High Court held that appropriate time must be given to Subway to present the case. Subway has been asked to submit all facts, subsequent to which the authorities will pass a speaking order to decide on the issue.
Pressure to waive IPR in the US for Covid-19 vaccines.
US medical and human rights groups have consistently called on US President Joe Biden to enact an IP exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine, given the urgent needs of the state. Multiple organisations including Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch have urged Biden to waive the IPR owing to the desperate need to fight the pandemic across the globe. Biden overturned the former US position in May to support the exemption and surprised some allies, but little progress has been made since then. However, the White House called on all WTO member states last month to support a temporary exemption to be discussed in Geneva from November 30th to December 3rd.
EU revoked Sony’s trademark partly due to non-use
Sony Corporation had registered the trademark Sony VITA for a variety of items, such as game-playing devices and data carriers. A company called Vieta Audio had filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to have the registration of the trademark revoked, citing non-use as its main argument. Sony had provided evidence of use but it was ruled not sufficient by both the Cancellation Division and the Board of Appeal. The EU General Court found that this trademark can be revoked for certain reasons, such as non-use, and that such a reminder is necessary for game makers.
YouTube guidelines on Copyright altered for better efficiency
With piracy content removals increasing, YouTube has more features for managing channel engagement and more options for helping creators secure branded content transactions and monetizing them. It was also announced that they are testing new features aimed at providing their efforts . The platform has now expanded access to a new content takedown process enabling creators to automatically take down duplicate uploads of any content that they’ve previously removed. A copyright matching tool has also been introduced. When a creator or user submits a removal request, it scans YouTube for duplicate content and alerts the entire platform of potential matches.
Facebook applies for registration of the trademark ‘Meta’.
Mark Zuckerberg had recently announced his intention to change the name of facebook to ‘Meta’. But this change in name comes with legal hindrances owing to a Company called Meta PC which has been using the name since November, 2020 to sell keyboards, computers, and other similar devices. Facebook had filed a trademark application in August but since Meta PC had been in use since before, chances are that the US Patent and Trademarks Office will rule in favour of the latter. But the founders of Meta PC, Schutt and Joe Darge have conveyed interest in standing down in exchange for a sum of 20 million dollars.