IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (October 18th – October 25th)

PhonePe drags BharatPe to Bombay High Court over ‘Pe’ suffix in ‘PostPe’

In a continuing dispute between payments companies PhonePe and BharatPe on the usage of the ‘Pe’ suffix, PhonePe on October 22 said that it moved the Bombay High Court (HC) on the matter.

“PhonePe sought an injunction to restrain Resilient Innovations i.e. BharatPe from misusing PhonePe’s registered trademarks by using and promoting the marks ‘PostPe’ / ‘postpe’,” the company said in a statement.

On October 6, BharatPe had announced its foray into the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) segment with the launch of PostPe. However, this is not the first time that PhonePe has dragged BharatPe to court over the usage of the suffix.

In September 2019, PhonePe had moved the Delhi HC against the competitor for using the suffix, seeking a similar injunction. In April this year, the Delhi High Court dismissed PhonePe’s plea while observing that BharatPe was not in violation of the trademark.

PhonePe withdrew the injunction plea later ​and moved Delhi HC for a full-fledged trial against BharatPe which is currently ongoing.

“During the hearing on 22nd October, the HC observed that the mark PostPe adopted by Resilient Innovations is so phonetically, structurally and visually similar to PhonePe mark that he also thought that PostPe/postpe is a natural evolution of the word PhonePe and emanated from PhonePe,” the company added.

However, the suit was withdrawn to address certain observations made by the Bombay HC, with the liberty to file a fresh suit.

Can’t Transfer Cases Based on False Allegations, Will Affect Judge’s Morale: Mumbai Court In Order Refusing Kangana Ranaut Relief in Javed Akhtar’s Defamation case

In the continuing tussle between writer Javed Akhtar and actor Kangana Ranaut, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrates court at Mumbai recently denied Kangana’s application to transfer the matter.  Merely because a judge proceeds with a case by following the law, doesn’t mean he is biased against the accused, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate observed. while rejecting actor Kangana Ranaut’s plea to transfer the defamation case filed by Javed Akhtar out of the 10th Andheri court.

Ranaut had approached the CMM court alleging that the Magistrate in Andheri had intentionally hurt her reputation by announcing in open court that he would issue an arrest warrant if she didn’t turn up in court to record her plea.

Addl CMM ST Dande ud that Magistrate RR Khan had acted judiciously and in fact allowed all of Ranaut’s exemption applications, repeatedly rejecting Akhtar’s pleas for issuance of a non bailable warrant when she failed to appear.

“If on the basis of false allegation, the matter is transferred, it will affect the morale of Presiding Officer,” the court said.

The court said that Metropolitan Magistrate, 10th Court, Andheri, Mumbai, had given Kangana a fair opportunity after she remained absent.

Read order here.

Indian Broadcasting & Digital Foundation re-elects K Madhavan as its President

Indian Broadcasting & Digital Foundation (IBDF), an industry body of Television Broadcasters and Digital Streaming Platforms in the country, has re-elected K Madhavan, Country Manager & President – The Walt Disney Company

India & Star India, as its President for the second term after the 22nd Annual General Meeting of the company held on 22nd October.

Madhavan said that he was humbled by the trust and faith IBDF members have reposed in him to lead the foundation for a second term. He further exclaimed that how IBDF are at an interesting crossroad where the combination of consumer, regulatory and technology trends is remodelling the media landscape and ecosystem. He then spoke about working with the government, industry and other stakeholders for accelerating the growth of the broadcast and digital media sector in the country.

Shilpa Shetty & Raj Kundra Send Rs 50 Crore Defamation Notice To Sherlyn Chopra

Actor Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra have sent a defamation notice to actor Sherlyn Chopra seeking an apology and Rs. 50 crore in damages for “lewd, below the belt” remarks against them on public platforms.

The notice claims that the Chopra’s allegations against Kundra and Shetty are “concocted, false, frivolous and baseless, made with an ulterior motive to defame and extort money” and punishable under sections 499, 550, 389 and 195(A), of the Indian Penal Code.

Kundra and Chopra are both accused in obscenity cases being investigated by the Maharashtra Police. Kundra was recently granted bail in one of the three cases.

The notice states that this is Chopra’s attempt to absolve herself from the investigation against her.

The notice comes after allegations of sexual misconduct were recently levelled by Chopra against Kundra in an FIR regarding an incident from March 2021.

Illegal broadcast of World cup and IPL matches on the rise:

Reports from multiple parts of the country are coming up against illegal broadcast and airing of sports matches.

Amidst the high intensity excitement of the Men’s cricket T20 world cup, an FIR was lodged at Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Police station when the constituted attorney of Star India, submitted a complaint stating that a nefarious website has been hosting links to download four mobile applications that have been illegally broadcasting live T20 Cricket World Cup matches and other OTT platform shows of Disney+Hotstar. Ahmedabad Police’s Cyber Crime Cell has started investigating the matter.

According to the police, an FIR has been filed against unknown persons under IPC Section 420 for fraud, 379 for theft and sections of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act and Copyright Act.

Similarly, The Odisha police have sealed the control room of a Balasore-based multi-system operator (MSO), Jaleswar Cable Network for transmitting Indian Premier League (IPL) matches without a valid interconnection agreement with official broadcaster Star Sports. The MSO, which caters to over 8000 TV households, was transmitting the live IPL feed by illegally downlinking a free to air (FTA) Afghanistani channel Watan TV HD through a DTH set-top box (STB).

This comes after, the Delhi High Court had Restrained ‘Rogue Websites’ From Infringing Star India’s Broadcasting Rights on 20th October. The Court granted interim injunction in favour of Star India Pvt. Ltd., against the ‘rogue websites’ from streaming, broadcasting or sharing through the internet the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

Observing that a prima facie case is made out in Star India’s favour, Justice Sanjeev Narula directed the Internet Service Providers to block access to the seven websites within 72 hours and also directed Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology to issue notification calling upon the internet and telecom service providers to block access to said websites.