Delhi HC restrains unauthorised use of Meesho trademarks by rogue websites

In a significant order, the Delhi High Court has recognised Meesho as a “well-known mark” and issued substantive directions to curb bad actors engaging in fraudulent activities by registering dummy websites. SoftBank-backed Meesho said the court has directed domain name registrars to ensure that no other such fake website with the well-known mark ‘Meesho’ is registered using their services.

The order was issued in response to a suit filed by Fashnear Technologies Private Limited (Meesho) asking for a permanent injunction on rogue websites that were using Meesho’s trademarks and/or copyright to defraud and dupe unsuspecting and gullible members of the general public.

Read order here.

Meta opposes CCI probe in Delhi HC, says FB can’t be investigated ‘due to’ WhatsApp

Opposing the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s probe into the latest WhatsApp privacy policy, its parent company Meta on 22nd July, 2022 told the Delhi High Court that the government authority cannot investigate it only because it owns the instant messaging platform.

A bench of the Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad of Delhi High Court were hearing the appeal filed by Meta and WhatsApp challenging the single-judge order which refused to stay the CCI’s order in April last year.

During the course of the hearing, Meta through their counsel pointed out that the two platforms are different entities and that the ownership is common but roads are different, policies are different.  Further arguments will be heard on July 25, 2022.

Delhi High Court Closes Suit By Hotstar Against Rogue Websites Over Unauthorized Telecasting Of ‘The Big Bull Film’

The Delhi High Court has disposed of a suit by Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (Hotstar), filed against various rogue websites apprehending illegal and unauthorized telecast of ‘The Big Bull’ film before its release last year.

While the movie was slated for theatrical release on 8th April, 2021, the suit was filed on 22nd March 2021 seeking an injunction blocking various rogue websites.

Justice Pratibha M Singh, who decreed the suit after observing that it has served the purpose, ordered that the nature of the present suit was intended to protect the Plaintiff’s investment in the film ‘The Big Bull’ and to ensure that no unauthorised online telecast of the film takes place, and since the suit has served its purpose, all the rogue websites have been blocked and domain names have also been de-activated.

Read order here.

Delhi HC refuses to interfere with penalty on media house for showing animal cruelty without warning

The Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with a “penalty of warning” imposed by the Centre on a media house showing animal cruelty without warning or blurring the clip, saying it hoped that a professional broadcaster would bear in mind the minimum precautions to be taken when showing distressing content.

Justice Yashwant Varma in the present case said that the court did not intend to deprecate the act of bringing the incident to the notice of the viewers and highlighting the issue of cruelty towards animals but in the present case, it was undisputed that the visual clips were neither blurred nor were the viewers forewarned to exercise discretion while watching the “barbaric action” on display along with the animal’s pain.

He further observed that the Court would have hoped that a professional broadcaster would have borne in mind the minimum precautions which must be exercised while broadcasting content which may cause distress and disturb the sensibilities of an ordinary and prudent viewer. The court stated that in view of the admitted facts, there was no justification to interfere with the order passed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The media house, in the instant case, aired on February 22, 2021, an incident of an elephant being mercilessly beaten by its caretakers. The petitioner media house challenged the order of March 17, 2022, issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting imposing the penalty of warning on it in terms of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.

The order of penalty was passed by the Centre after it took cognizance of a complaint concerning the broadcast and put the petitioner on notice.

Read order here.

Delhi High Court Decrees Copyright Ownership Suit Filed By TV Music Composer Abhishek Ray Against Showtime Events

The Delhi High Court has held that the original producer, lyricist and composer of a music album is entitled to a decree of declaration to that effect.

A single judge bench of Justice Pratibha Singh thus granted a decree of permanent injunction in favour of TV music composer Abhishek Ray, claiming rights over music album ‘Kamasutra – Moods of Love’.

Ray had approached the High Court against Showtimes Events (India) Pvt. Ltd., run by defendants R. Paul and Michael Menezes.

The case of the Plaintiff is that the Plaintiff merely agreed to assign the ‘right to use’ the musical compositions to the Defendants for the proposed musical. All other rights in the sound recordings and music compositions were retained by the Plaintiff.

Read order here.

Commercial Courts (Amendment) Act, 2018 Cannot Be Applied Retrospectively

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was of the view that it cannot be said that there is any lack of clarity or ambiguity in sec. 19 of the 2018 Amending Act which categorically states that its provisions will apply to cases relating to commercial disputes filed on or after the date of commencement of the Act, i.e. May 3, 2018.

The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division Act, 2015 was enacted by the Legislature under which all suits over a sum of Rs.1 Crore were to be transferred from Ordinary Courts to the designated Commercial Courts. The said Act was amended in the year 2018 in which all suits relating to a commercial dispute over a sum of Rs.3 lakhs filed on or before the institution of the Amending Act, 2018, were to be transferred to the designated Commercial Courts.

The Petitioners thus approached High Court seeking transfer of the Civil Suits which were pending before Additional District Judge, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, to the designated Commercial Court on the ground that the suits were commercial in nature and pertain to “commercial disputes” as defined under the 2015 Act.

The question which arose for consideration before the Court was whether sec. 19 of the Amending Act will apply retrospectively to all the pending suits and applications of a specified value of more than Rs. 3 lakhs that were filed prior to May 3, 2018?

The Court noted that a basic principle of jurisprudence is that statutes must have a prospective effect on the ground and that a retrospective application of the same threatens to disturb matters that have already been settled, and therefore, undermine and invade contractual and personal relationships existing under the law that has already been in operation.

This order of the Division bench could have a wide impact to various IPR disputes pending for adjudication before the Commercial Judges and Transfer in advent of the recent judgement in Vishal Pipes Ltd. vs. Bhavya Pipes Industry wherein it was held that all pending IPR suits before the different District Judges (non-Commercial) in Delhi shall be placed before the concerned District Judges (Commercial) for following the procedure of valuation.

Read order here.

Threshold For Extending Exclusive Rights To Shape Of A Product Quite High In Trademark Law

The Delhi High Court has observed that in the law of trade marks, the threshold for extending exclusive rights to the shape of a product, is quite high.

The Court was of the view that for trade mark registration of shape of a product, the same can only be granted if it has acquired a secondary meaning.

The Court was dealing with an appeal challenging the impugned order dated 26th September, 2019 passed by the Senior Examiner of Trade Marks by which the trademark application for the registration of shape of a knitting needle in Class 26 in respect of ‘knitting needles and crochet hooks’ was rejected.

The application was found to be objectionable under sec. 9(1)(a) and 9(1)(b) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the mark was found to be devoid of any distinctive character by the Senior Examiner.

The Court reiterated that in order for a shape trademark to be registered, it has to be shown that the said shape is not the generic shape of the product.

Read order here.

Pre-Grant Opponent Cannot Be Kept In Dark About Developments In Examination Process Of Patent Application

The Delhi High Court has held that the proceedings in a pre-grant opposition and simultaneous examination of a patent application cannot result in a situation where the pre-grant opponent is kept in dark about the developments taking place in the examination process of a patent application.

The Court noted that in the present case, there were four amendments on record fi led by the Applicant and hence five sets of claims had been filed much after the completion of the pleadings in the pre-grant opposition. There were three substantive affidavits that had been filed by the Applicant along with an amended set of claims. Rulings on the amendment were yet to be issued by the Patent Office.

Thus, in the opinion of the Court, an opportunity had to be granted to the Opponent to rebut the evidence of the Applicant. Accordingly, the opponent was permitted to file affidavits of its own experts in rebuttal to the three expert affidavits filed by the Applicant.

Read order here.