IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (JANUARY 20-26)

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ANAND PATWARDHAN MOVES BOMBAY HC AGAINST MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR EXCLUDING HIS DOCUMENTARY FROM FILM FESTIVAL

Film maker Anand Patwardhan has moved the Bombay High Court against Mumbai International Film Festival and others for rejecting his film from being included in the film festival. Petitioners alleged that the common thread that runs through some of the documentaries that were not selected for exhibition including the petitioner’s films is “that they are critical of the current political dispensation or the political philosophy that they claim to espouse.

The Bombay High Court on January 24 asked the I&B Ministry to disclose the process followed by the selection committee of Mumbai International Film Festival in rejecting the screening of award-winning documentaries made by filmmakers Anand Patwardhan and Pankaj Kumar. A division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Chagla heard the writ petition led by the two documentary filmmakers alleging that the Final Selection List of documentary films to be screened at the said Festival excluded the names of a certain kind of cinema.

DRAVIDIAN OUTFIT WANTS FIR AGAINST RAJINIKANTH BOOKED, MOVES MADRAS HC

Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam has approached the Madras high court seeking direction to the Chennai police to register an FIR against actor Rajinikanth for his alleged speech with intention to provoke breach of public peace by promoting enmity and hatred among the people of Tamil Nadu in the name of religion. It is alleged that Rajinikanth delivered the speech in the golden jubilee celebration of Tamil magazine – Thuglak and made false and fraudulent statements insulting Dravidian ideologists and followers of Thanthai Periyar.

YASH RAJ FILMS MOVES BOMBAY HIGH COURT AGAINST IPRS IN RELATION TO THE ROYALTY DISPUTE

Yashraj Films has approached the Bombay HC against IPRS with respect to the royalty dispute. YRF has prayed that the Court quash a criminal case of breach of trust, copyright infringement and failure to pay Rs 100 crore in royalty to several music composers and lyricists since 2012 filed against it by IPRS. It is the former’s contention that the case filed against it is basis mala fide intention. The Bombay HC has fixed February 3 as the next date of hearing. It has asked the police not to insist for any documents from YRF till then. Further, YRF has filed another suit against IPRS which has been adjourned to 6th February 2020.

SUPREME COURT SETS ASIDE 1 CRORE PENALTY IMPOSED ON STAR INDIA AND AIRTEL FOR KBC BY NCDRC

The Supreme Court vide order dated January 23 set aside a Rs 1 crore penalty imposed on Star India, broadcaster of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), and programme sponsor Bharti Airtel Limited.  The penalty dates back to 2008, when the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) ruled against the two companies in a case of “unfair trade practices”. In a complaint filed in 2007, Society of Catalysts, an agency working in the field of consumer rights, accused Star India and Bharti Airtel of “unfair trade practices” over a contest, ‘Har Seat Hot Seat’, that asked KBC viewers to answer questions by text for a chance to win Rs 2 lakh.  Challenging the order in the Supreme Court in 2008, Star TV and Airtel argued that the NCDRC order was based on “inferences and speculation”, and that they had made sure the increased SMS rates applicable for the contest were displayed on the television screen as well as on the KBC website.  Star TV claimed that Airtel had not shared the SMS revenue with it at all, and asserted that the NCDRC should have looked into the break-up of cost, value addition and profit in the tariff before passing the order. Setting aside the order and penalty, the court ruled, “We are of the view that there is no basis to conclude that the prize money for the HSHS contest was paid directly out of the SMS revenue earned by Airtel, or that Airtel and Star India had colluded to increase the SMS rates so as to finance the prize money and share the SMS revenue, and the finding of the commission of an ‘unfair trade practice’… is liable to be set aside.”

CHHAPAAK: LAWYER APARNA BHAT MOVES DELHI HC AGAINST MAKERS FOR NOT GIVING CREDIT DESPITE COURT ORDERS

Lawyer Aparna Bhat has filed contempt petition in Delhi High Court against makers of the film Chhapaak for not giving due credit to her despite the court order.

The plea has sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the makers of the film for non-compliance of the High Court order directing respondents to give due credit to the lawyer Bhat for her contribution in the making of the film.

Bhat said, “I have filed this petition as the makers have not included the credits in the copy of the film which is being screened internationally.” However, she said that due credits were given to her in the movie which is screening in India.

ASCI INTRODUCES GUIDELINES FOR ADVERTISERS TO USE AWARDS AND RANKINGS IN ADS

The Advertisement Standards Council of India (ASCI) has introduced guidelines for usage of Awards/Rankings in advertisements effective February 1, 2020. It has become increasingly common for advertisers to make superiority claims in advertising for their products and services based on awards and rankings received. Consumers are sometimes misled into believing that an award or ranking which is given to a brand, product, institute or service makes it superior and/or more authentic.

The guidelines will lend assistance to advertisers for appropriate and correct usage of reference to awards or rankings in advertising; to ensure that their claims are not misleading. The guidelines will also assist the advertiser to understand the rigour required for claim substantiation and pitfalls to avoid so that their claims pass the muster with ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC).

To validate their claims in advertisements, brands and services need to ensure that the accrediting bodies involved in disseminating or presenting awards or rankings are authentic and credible.

REPUBLIC TV GETS RELIEF FROM CALCUTTA HC IN PASSING OFF SUIT

The Calcutta High Court recently granted relief to Arnab Goswami’s AGR Outlier Media Asianet News Pvt. Ltd. (plaintiff) in a passing off suit citing infringement of Republic TV’s trademark. Trademark infringement had been alleged on the part of Shailputri Media Pvt. Ltd. (defendant) in running an internet portal under the domain name “www.republichindi.com.”

Justice Debangsu Basak of the Calcutta High Court found that, “On a visual appreciation of the two marks, it appears that, the mark used by the defendant is deceptively similar to that used by the plaintiff. A person may be misled to understand that the defendant is a part of the plaintiff.”

The plaintiff argued that even prior to May 2017 launch, the launch of Republic TV was advertised on a nation-wide basis in the preceding months. The trademark for “Republic” was obtained prior, on November 20, 2016, the plaintiff claimed. It was the case of the plaintiff that domain name used by the defendant was deceptively similar to Republic TV and that it amounted to passing off.

The defendant countered that the name of “Republic Hindi” was conceptualised and implemented by itself. Inter alia, it was argued that the plaintiff was seeking to monopolise the use of the word “Republic”, although it was a generic word with nothing distinctive about it. To buttress this argument, reference was also made to other media outlets with the word “Republic” as part of its brand such as ‘News Republic’.

It was also pointed out that the defendant’s Republic Hindi portal was also launched on May 6, 2017. Therefore, the defendant could not have had any prior knowledge of the plaintiff’s channel which had also launched on the same date, it was argued. The defendant claimed the domain name “www.republichindi.com” was an honest, concurrent and bona fide adoption.

The Court, however, observed marked similarities between the logo of Republic TV and Republic Hindi. The Court proceeded to observe that while the claims of the defendant regarding bonafide adoption of its domain name required consideration, there was nothing on record to suggest that it had conceptualised “Republic Hindi” concurrently with the plaintiff.

In view of these observations, the Court disposed on the plea by holding that,

“In the facts of the present case, I find that, the manner in which the defendant is using the word ‘Republic Hindi’ with the colour combination and font used by the defendant, the mark of the defendant is deceptively similar to that used by the plaintiff.”

 

SUN TV FILES CASE AGAINST TRAI IN MADRAS HIGH COURT

As per reports, Sun TV Network has challenged TRAI’s recent amendments to the New Tariff Order and filed a case in the Madras High Court.  The Madras HC order says: “According to the contention raised, neither the broadcaster nor the subscriber are to gain and it is rather “the middlemen” who would be absolutely gaining out of this transaction, where they have an assured revenue without caring for any assessment of the choice or the price affordability vis-a-vis the ultimate consumer or the broadcaster. Several other submissions have also been raised to support the aforesaid contentions.”

As per the court order, the argument in the petitions say: “The contention is that the impugned tariff as well as the Regulations cumulatively have resulted in a regulatory shock without assessing or analysing the entire foundation for bringing about the changed tariff, which, according to him, has not been attempted empirically and which also, according to his submissions, is reflected in the minutes recorded in this regard by TRAI itself.” According to the petition, “There was absolutely no material available either scientifically or legally assessed that could support the introduction of the tariff.”

The order said: “The contention, therefore, is that neither mathematically nor even applying the regulatory jurisprudence, which has to be necessarily subscriber friendly, has any assessment been made and it appears to be an assessment made on an individual analysis made by the TRAI or on the basis of information which can be termed to be speculative and not based on any scientific data.”

The network has said that the regulatory body had amended NTO without consulting the broadcasters.

Madras HC has now scheduled the matter for February 4 and has made the Centre a party to the same.

TRAI has been asked to provide its response when the case is taken up next.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) on January 13 had filed a writ petition in Bombay High Court against the regulatory body seeking a stay on the implementation of the recent amendments to the New Tariff Order.

 

 

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