IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (MAY 31-JUNE 6)

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(These highlights have been jointly contributed by Aviral Srivastava and Ujjawal Bharagava)

JUHI CHAWLA’S PLEA AGAINST 5G ROLLOUT DEFECTIVE, FOR MEDIA PUBLICITY: DELHI HIGH COURT

The Delhi High dismissed the plea filed by Bollywood actor Juhi Chawla against the rollout of 5G technology in India (Juhi Chawla & Ors vs Science and Engineering Research Board &Ors).

Chawla and others had argued that it was an established fact that there “could be danger of imminent nature” due to 5G and as per RTI responses, no studies had been conducted on the same.

Justice JR Midha ruled that the plaint was defective and not maintainable. The Court noted that Chawla not only did not comply with the mandate under Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure but also flouted several other mandates under the Code.

Further, the court noted that the plaint was not verified. It noted that only a few paragraphs were said to be “true to their knowledge”. There was no personal knowledge of averments and that the Plaint based on legal advice is not maintainable.

The hearing on Wednesday was also marred by uncouth conduct by an unidentified visitor who started singing songs from Chawla’s movies after Chawla had circulated the web link of the hearing on social media through which the court opined that it appeared that the suit was filed to garner publicity. The Court imposed costs of Rs. 20 lakh on Chawla and other plaintiffs for abusing the process of law.

Read order here.

SANATAN SENA FILES A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST YASH RAJ FILMS, ADITYA CHOPRA AND AKSHAY KUMAR FOR THEIR MOVIE TITLED PRITHVIRAJ

Recently, Sanatan Sena through its National President, Surjit Singh registered a criminal complaint against makers of the film, Prithviraj, including its production house Yash Raj Films, Aditya Chopra and its actor Akshay Kumar. Sanatan Sena has registered the criminal complaint against the makers under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on various grounds. The central ground for the complaint was that “any Indian cannot even think of addressing Hindu Warrior King in a singular manner but the makers tried to name the film as ‘Prithviraj’. Further, it also mentions that such an act can hurt the religious and social sentiments of people. This complaint is the second objection that has been raised against the title of the movie. Earlier, Karni Sena had raised their objection regarding the title of the film.

BOMBAY HIGH COURT SEEKS MAHARASHTRA GOVT RESPONSE ON PLEA CLAIMING ONLINE LUDO GAME IS GAMBLING

A petition was filed by “Keshav Ramesh Muley” (Member, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) in the Bombay HC against “Cashgrail Private Limited owner of “Ludo Supreme App“, on the ground that it promotes gambling.

The petitioner contends that the provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling (MPG) Act applies to the game if it is being played for stake. He submitted that a possibility of a 3-year-old winning the game could not be discounted and, hence, Ludo cannot be considered a game of mere skill but is a game of chance. The format of the game is similar to the original board game format but Muley claimed that the rolling of dice and value rolled is entirely controlled by the application and algorithm used by it. Further, the difference on the mobile application is that an entry fee is required to be paid before the game commences and the amount which is given as “feeble pretext of prize money” for the table is remitted into the electronic wallet of the winner.

The Court sought the response of the Maharashtra government on the plea seeking a declaration that “Ludo is a game of chance and not a game of skill”.

PHONEPE WITHDRAWS TRADEMARK INJUNCTION APPEAL AGAINST BHARATPE:

PhonPe had filed a suit for injunction against BharatPe on the ground of trademark infringement over using the suffix “Pe” in April, which was dismissed by the Delhi HC due to insufficient evidence to showcase infringement of Trademark, whereafter PhonePe filed an appeal in the High Court.

Walmart backed PhonePe withdrew its motion challenging the order but PhonePe confirmed that they have not withdrawn their original commercial lawsuit against BharatPe which was filed in 2019 where they accused BharatPe of trademark violations. PhonePe has also declined the possibility of reaching out to BharatPe for a settlement.

DELHI HIGH COURT RESTRAINS USE OF THE “GOOD YEAR” MARK

Recently, the Delhi High Court in the case Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company v. Deva Nand Sukhia restrained the defendant from using the mark ‘Good Year’ or any such mark which was identical or deceptively similar to the trademark that has been registered by the US-based tyre manufacturer company, Goodyear.

DELHI HIGH COURT RESERVES ORDER ON A PLEA SEEKING INJUNCTION ON MOVIES BASED ON THE LIFE OF LATE ACTOR SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT

Krishna Kishore Singh, the father of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput had approached the Delhi High Court and filed a petition on the basis of various news articles and publications which said that his personal life, name/likeness/ lifestyle/caricature/images will be depicted in various movies and other ventures in the form of a biopic or story. The petition stated that the plaintiff as well as his deceased son has the right to privacy or of the right to be left alone as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It further stated that no one can publish anything whether truthful or not about the life of the deceased actor without the consent of the plaintiff. The petition also sought permanent injunction restraining the defendants, the makers of the movie ‘Shashank’ from using the plaintiff son’s name or likeness in any forthcoming projects.

 

CENTRE TELLS DELHI HIGH COURT THAT WHATSAPP IS OBTAINING “TRICK CONSENT”

The Central government filed an additional counter affidavit before the Delhi High Court and has informed the Court that WhatsApp has indulged in obtaining “trick consent” from its users to accept its much contested privacy policy that was introduced in 2021. The Centre claimed that WhatsApp has indulged in this by bombarding the users who have not yet accepted the newly brought in privacy policy with ‘push notifications’. The Government states that WhatsApp is doing this with the aim to get the entire existing user base to commit to the 2021 privacy policy before the Personal Protection Bill is enacted. The centre has sought to restrain WhatsApp from sending such push notifications.

G7 LEADERS STRIKE DEAL TO TAX GOOGLE, AMAZON AND OTHER TECH GIANTS

The United States, Britain and other large, rich nations reached a landmark deal on Saturday to charge more tax on the multinational companies such as Amazon and Google and reduce their incentive to shift profits to low-tax offshore havens.

Hundreds of billions of dollars could flow into the coffers of governments left cash-strapped by the COVID-19 pandemic after the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies agreed to back a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15%.

Rich nations have struggled for years to agree a way to raise more revenue from large multinationals, which can pay little tax on the billions of dollars of sales they make in countries around the world, draining public finances.

The 15 per cent is above the level in countries such as Ireland but below the lowest level in the G7. Amazon and Google welcomed the agreement and Facebook said it would likely pay more tax.

The deal, years in the making, also promises to end national digital services taxes levied by Britain and other European countries which the United States said unfairly targeted US technology giants. Exactly which big companies will be covered, and how governments divide up tax revenue, is still to be agreed.

There will be bigger need to find broader support at a meeting of the G20 – which includes a number of emerging economies – due to take place next month in Venice.

IAMAI BOARD TO OVERSEE THE SELF REGULATORY CODE OF CONDUCT BY CRYPTO EXCHANGES

The Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council which includes India’s largest exchanges like WazirX, ZebPay etc. is a body of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) which will be setting up a formal board to oversee the implementation of a self-regulatory code of conduct by crypto exchanges. This board will consist of eminent jurists, fintech compliance specialists, and technical specialists. A spokesperson of IAMAI has also said that “IAMAI has suggested that the government should regulate crypto assets through an act of Parliament.”

IT rules, 2021- recent events and updates:

GOOGLE SEEKS PROTECTION AGAINST THE NEW IT RULES (DIGITAL MEDIA AND ETHICS CODE, 2021) CLAIMING THAT IT IS A SEARCH ENGINE AND NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA INTERMEDIARY.

Google moved the Delhi HC seeking interim protection against its declaration as a “Social Media Intermediary” (SMI) under the IT Rules, 2021.

Appeal was filed against the order of the court which had directed it to remove globally remove content which was flagged as “objectionable” by a female petitioner, for being “offensive” and having been taken from her social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, and circulated without her consent. Google said that while it had no issues against the directions issued in respect of this particular petitioner, it was aggrieved by the blanket, “template directions” issued by the judge.

TV NEWS CHANNELS OPEN TO CHALLENGE IT RULES

News broadcasters that have written to the I & B ministry to be excluded from the IT Rules, 2021are open to considering legal options to challenge them. Television channels, which requested the government for exemption from the rules, through their lobby group News Broadcasters Association (NBA), are yet to hear from the government on the request. Instead, the I & B Ministry put out a statement asking digital news sites to provide details such as language in which content is published, website, mobile apps, social media accounts, RNI (Registrar of Newspapers for India) registration number or TV channels permitted by the ministry, contact person, grievance redressal officer in India, the self-regulatory body of which the publisher is a member and particulars of news editor. The ministry set a deadline of 15 days for this information to be furnished, which expires on 10 June.

TWITTER GIVEN “ONE LAST NOTICE” IN GOVERNMENT’S WARNING ON DIGITAL RULES

The Centre has sent out a terse warning giving one last notice to Twitter to comply with new IT rules. The social media giant has been asked to name compliance officer as well as appoint a company employee as grievance officer and nodal contact person.

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said that if Twitter fails to comply with the new IT rules, it shall be liable for consequences under the IT Act and other penal laws. Predominantly, it will lose its safe harbour immunity under Section 79 of the IT Act.

The move came after Twitter left the government seething by briefly dropping the blue tick verification badge for Vice President Venkaiah Naidu for “inactivity”.

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