News Update: October
India Today sues Newslaudry over claims of copyright infringement and defamation
India Today sought Rs.2 Crores as damages along with a permanent and mandatory injunction against Newslaudry over its YouTube videos. The said videos were meant to critique the India Today anchors and occasionally featured clips from the original news broadcast. The suit is filed in the Delhi High Court and is claimed to be extensive. Earlier, the Newslaundry Youtube channel was taken down in response to India Today’s copyright strikes. The legal team at Newslaundry has seemingly tried to contact India Today but to no avail. In the absence of any prior notice or reply, the CEO of Newslaudry expressed his dismay by stating that the suit is symbolic of how much dominant news channels like India Today are committed to the cause of freedom of press and freedom of speech.
· Shibasish Sarkar eyes private movie studio owned by Anil Ambani
Shibasish Sarkar, the group chief executive of Reliance Entertainment Pvt Limited is said to be in talks with Anil Ambani over Management Buyout (MBO) of their privately-owned film and content creation studio. The former intends to pull funds from his Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) and International Media Acquisition Corporation (IMAC) for this purpose. In total, the buyout is expected to be worth about Rs.800-1000 Crores. Shibasish Sarkar is a well-seasoned film executive who has renowned productions such as Udta Punjab, Kaun Banega Karodpati, and Queen to his name.
· Dropbox and Ironhawk Applied Sciences settle outside court over “SmartSync” trademark
The release of Dropbox’s file share function “Smart Sync” in 2017 marked the beginning of a trademark infringement lawsuit. A Los Angeles-based entity called Ironhawk Applied Sciences had alleged infringement of its mark “SmartSync”. After a long-drawn legal battle that journeyed from the US District Court to the Court of Appeals and then back to the US District Court, both the parties decided to settle matters outside the court. The terms of the settlement are not disclosed to the general public; but according to the joint filing submitted by the parties, there seems to be no possibility for reopening the suit.
· Google News to enter into Spain after the country adopts EU copyright law
Google News was removed in 2014 due to legislation that mandated Google to pay publishing fees for republishing titles and summaries of news articles from third-party news sources on its “News” tab. In the earlier version of the legislation, such platforms had to pay a collective fee to publish. The current law allows parties to enter into agreements and settlements on their own terms, thus waiving off the collective fees. The Government of Spain and Google were reportedly thrilled with this change.
· Amazon successfully disproves allegations of patent infringement over Alexa
A Canadian origin tech company called IPA Technologies Inc. claimed that Amazon’s Alexa contains their patented virtual assistant technology. The US District Court of Delaware adjudged on the matter and held that Alexa did not have the "layer of conversational protocol" that the patent technology contains. It was argued by Amazon and upheld by the Court that both the technologies function differently and have different built and mechanisms. The Canadian company had previously filed suits against other tech giants such as Google and Apple over the infringement of the same patent.
· China reveals its 14th five-year plan to promote intellectual property
A notice stating the details of the 14th National Intellectual Property Protection and Utilization Plan was recently made public in China. The goals include doubling the number of patent registrations per 10,000 people in China, doubling the number of patents granted in comparison with foreign grants, etc. It also sought to increase the amount of registered intellectual property pledge financing, i.e., mortgaging of IP by about 50%. Numerical goals are set for different goals to be achieved by 2025. In addition, the plan sought to strengthen the judicial protection of IP, promote alternative dispute resolution and improve global governance of IP.
· Intellectual Property and Technology Court launched in Ireland
In furtherance of Ireland’s goal to reform IP dispute resolution, a special Intellectual Property and Technology Court was established. It was formed as a new division of the Commercial Court under Order 63A of the Rules of Superior Court. The court will be dealing with complex technical matters with the necessary expertise. Several procedural laws were also amended and simplified to promote ease of litigation, the same was applauded and welcomed by IP-intensive businesses. The court is to deal with all matters relating to IP including, but not limited to designs, patents, trademarks, copyrights, GIs, trade secrets, and database rights.
Draft Intellectual Property Rights Division Rules, 2021 drafted by Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court formulated a 55-page Draft Intellectual Property Rights Division Rules, 2021, and invited the members of the Bar Council to make suggestions and comments. The draft contains information regarding filings, appeals, fees, and other procedural laws. Among others, it provides the right to appoint counsel to different IPOs for the purpose of adequate representation. The Rules are aimed at making IP litigation smoother, with lesser complexities. The rules are seemingly set to achieve the goal.