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News Update: October 2023

  • Goan Cashews Receive GI Tag

The Goa Cashew Manufacturers’ Association (GCMA) along with the Goan Government has applied for the registration of a GI Tag for Goan Cashews in 2020. Three years later, their application has become successful. Goan Cashews are utilized in producing Goa’s first-ever GI Tag, Feni (an alcoholic drink made out of fermented cashew fruits). The traditional harvesting techniques adopted to grow these Cashews allow them to be pesticide-free. Goa currently has ten GI Tags to its name.

  • The Indian Intellectual Property Office Releases a New WIPO Diagnostics Tool

The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks released an IP Diagnostics tool in collaboration with WIPO. This tool is aimed at assisting small business owners to assess their business and their need to protect identifiable IP. The tool presents 11 questions to gauge the types of IP involved in a business. After the initial assessment, sets of tests are administered for different categories of IP. Once all the questions are answered, a report is generated where a detailed explanation of each IP is provided with examples to assist the entrepreneurs in understanding how it affects their business.

  • UK-Based Tech Firm Warns Meta to Stop Using their Trademark “Threads”

Threads Software Limited, a British Tech firm has cautioned Meta over using the mark “Threads” for their new social media platform. The mark has been registered and used by the company since 2012 while Meta released its new platform on Instagram in 2023. The former company has used this mark for its AI-powered messaging hub services and claims that the use by Meta infringes its trademark. The company also claims that their Facebook page was removed from the platform after the announcement of “Threads” by Meta.

  • WIPO Releases Global Patenting Activity Statistics for 2022

Image Source: WIPO LinkedIn Post

The World Intellectual Property Organisation highlighted various trends in the field of patents through its annual patenting activity statistics for the year 2022. The statistics suggest an increase in the number of applications filed by a meager 1.7% in comparison to the previous year. However, India has recorded the highest jump in applications filed from the previous year at a whopping 31.6%. While patents, trademarks, and plant varieties saw an increase in the number of applications filed, designs witnessed a downward trend.

  • $32 Million-Lawsuit against Google Gets Thrown out by Judge Alsup

Image Source: The Verge

The ongoing legal battle between Google and Sonos took a drastic turn as the claims made by Sonos were thrown out by the US District Court of the Northern District of California. The claimant was in partnership with Google for their voice-activated technology used in Google Home and other similar appliances. Sonos claimed that Google infringed several of their patents having registrations from as early as 2006. The US International Trade Commission ruled in favour of Sonos and they were awarded damages worth $32 million. However, this was rejected since the court found that the patents on which the claims rested were unenforceable. Further commenting on the issue, Justice William Alsup criticised Sonos’s tactic of misusing the patent system to “punish the inventor and enrich the pretender”.

  • Walmart and Vans Settle the Trademark Infringement Lawsuit over Counterfeit Shoes

The two companies filed with the US Federal Court of California to record their settlement in the former trademark lawsuit over rip-off Vans. In 2021, Vans accused Walmart of producing and selling 20 different versions of their shoes across various collections. As a part of the settlement, Walmart has agreed to file a “Consented Permanent Injunction”. Further, the parties have agreed upon a 30-day period to carry out the settlement, post which they will file a joint motion to dismiss.

  • Taco Bell succeeds in getting all “Taco Tuesday” registrations

Image Source: Vinepair

Taco Bell was successful in freeing up the trademark “Taco Tuesday” by getting registrations revoked by owners. The mark was held in 49 states by a small restaurant chain from Wyoming called Taco John’s. Another small-scale restaurant joint, Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar, also revoked its registration of almost 30 years to avoid an unnecessarily long and drawn-out legal battle with the fast food giant. The mark is now free for use in the US. Taco Bell had previously failed to gain registration over it in the UK.

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