IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (SEPTEMBER 06-13th)

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IT Rules 2021: Supreme Court Lists Centre’s Transfer Petitions, Connected Cases After 6 Weeks

The Supreme Court has listed after 6 weeks a group of petitions related to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021).

The cases include the petitions filed by the Union Government seeking to transfer to the Supreme Court the cases filed in the High Courts challenging the IT Rules and also challenging the interim orders passed by High Courts in some cases.

A bench led by the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana directed the listing of these cases after 6 weeks while hearing a batch of petitions seeking action against media houses which communalized the Tablighi Jamaat issue.

During the hearing of this case, the CJI had noted serious concerns regarding the spread of false news reports on digital media platforms as well as the communal tone present in private news channels’ coverage. In his reply, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta claimed that the IT Rules address the issues that the CJI was speaking of. Mehta went on to note that several high courts in the country are hearing petitions challenging these rules, some of which have even passed interim orders. He said that transfer petitions to have the cases heard by the Supreme Court have been filed in some instances and that the apex court needs to hear these cases to provide a conclusive verdict.

These cases include Special Leave Petitions (SLP) filed against the Kerala high court’s order which granted interim protection from coercive action under part three of the IT Rules and the Bombay high court’s interim order to stay the enforcement of Rule 9(1) and 9(3) of the IT Rules.

Read order here.

‘Tarnishes His Image’: Bombay Court Temporarily Restrains Access To ‘Selmon Bhoi’ Game Allegedly Based on Salman Khan Hit & Run Case

A civil court in Bombay granted interim relief to actor Salman Khan against a parody online game called ‘Selmon Bhoi’, which is said to be based on the actor’s hit-and-run incident in 2002.

Last month, Salman Khan filed a court complaint against the game’s developers, alleging that the name and photographs featured in the game appeared to be his caricature version. According to the application, the game ‘Selmon Bhoi’ is phonetically similar to his followers’ nickname, Salman Bhai and is used by the developers without obtaining his consent thereby infringing his personality rights.

The court has barred the game’s creators, Parody Studios Pvt Ltd, and its directors from launching, re-launching, disseminating, or duplicating the game or any other content related to Salman, according to a report in a leading daily. Further, the court order the game’s creators to remove the game from Google Play Store and all other platforms immediately.

According to the court, “Selmon Bhai” harmed the actor’s image, and the plaintiff refused to authorise to the development of a game based on his identity and the case against him. The actor’s “right to privacy is being deprived, and his image is also being tarnished,” according to the court.

Read order here.

Complaint filed against Salman Khan, Akshay & others for revealing rape victim’s name on social media

Many Bollywood celebrities like Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Farhan Akhtar, Ajay Devgn and others are in big trouble as a complaint has been filed against them for allegedly revealing the identity of the 2019 Hyderabad rape victim. This complaint has been reportedly filed in Delhi’s Tis Hazari court. 38 big names have been involved in this matter.

Advocate Gaurav Gulati, the complainant has alleged that revealing the name of a rape victim on social media is a criminal offence hence he had demanded an FIR against Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and others. A written complaint has been registered against all the stars in the Sabzi Mandi police station under section 228A of the Indian Penal Code. The police have registered a case and further investigation is underway.

The complainant has cited the tweets of the celebrities, alleging that all these have revealed the identity of a rape victim from Hyderabad and that this is a clear violation of the Supreme Court’s guidelines given in Nipun Saxena v. Union of India.

Basmati row: MP govt’s demand for GI tag to be considered again

In a reprieve to Madhya Pradesh, the apex court has set aside an order of the Madras high court denying Geographical Indication (GI) tag to basmati rice grown in areas falling under the state.

A bench comprising of  Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice B R Gavai and Justice B V Nagarathana held that the high court committed an error in not adjudicating the issue relating to the over inclusion of areas in Madhya Pradesh forming part of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) GI application.

The judges were passing the order on a plea moved by Madhya Kshetra Basmati Growers Association Samiti. Remanding the issue back to the high court for fresh consideration, the apex court directed Madras HC to decide the matter within three months, considering the importance of the issue.

On February 27, 2020 a division bench of the Madras high court dismissed Madhya Pradesh’s plea seeking GI tag for basmati rice grown in areas falling under the state. The court also refused to quash an order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) granting Gl certificate for basmati to APEDA noting that for a same produce, two GI certificates of registration cannot be issued.

In May 2010, GI status was given to basmati grown only in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and parts of Western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Madhya Pradesh moved a statutory opposition demanding that its 13 districts be recognised as traditional basmati growing regions.

Delhi HC directs Google, Facebook to block 25 websites, accounts infringing Aaj Tak trademark

The Delhi High Court single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait directed Google and Facebook to block 25 different websites, accounts and pages accused of infringing the “Aaj Tak” trademark and misleading the consumers into believing that these “anonymous” websites are somehow related to the Aaj Tak brand.

In September 2020, the High Court had passed a similar order against four defendants, which has now been extended to another 25 different websites.

The bench has also impleaded all these websites as parties to the case along with Google, Facebook and other Domain Name Registrars, issuing notice to them and calling upon them to respond by October third week.

Living Media India Ltd, the parent company of the Aaj Tak brand, had argued before the Court that the anonymous websites, trying to pass off as Aaj Tak, were deceiving and misleading the general public that these anonymous sites were linked to the Aaj Tak brand, and the same was causing immense losses to the brand’s goodwill and reputation.

The bench, prima-facie agreeing with the plaintiff, granted an ex-parte injunction in favour of Aaj Tak. The order from the Delhi High Court goes a long way in protecting a news brand against fake news and fake screen grabs which have led to rampant disinformation being circulated in public in the name of news, especially during the pandemic.

Read Order here.

Apple Sued for Patent Infringement by RFCyber Over Apple Pay

A company RFCyber Corp that holds many patents for mobile payment-related services, has filed an action against the tech giants Apple in the Western District of Texas for patent infringement. The five patents-in-suit generally relate to an apparatus and methods for enabling secure contactless payment with a mobile device. For the alleged wilful infringement, RFCyber seeks declaratory and injunctive relief barring further infringement, damages, and its litigation costs.

The complaint explains, RFCyber is the sole and exclusive owner of all the accompanying rights or is the exclusive licensee bestowed with the right to sue for infringement.

According to RFCyber, Apple has manufactured, marketed, and sold devices and software that infringe the patents-in-suit. Specifically, the defendant has distributed various iterations of Apple Pay that have included functionality to emulate a payment card and settle a transaction using its proprietary technology since October 2014. The complaint points to numerous accused devices, including the iPhone 6 and subsequent models, Apple’s smart watches and certain lap top models employing Apple’s Touch ID, a fingerprint identification system.

The filing alleges that Apple’s infringement is willful in view of the fact that Apple “knew or should have known that its actions constituted an unjustifiably high risk of infringement.”

Read order here.

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