IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (DECEMBER 19-25)

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Bombay City Civil Court refuses to restrain release of web series Scam 2003: The Curios Case of Abdul Karim Lala Telgi in a plea filed by Abdul Telgi’s daughter

Bombay City Civil Court on December 23, rejected a plea seeking temporary injunction on the release of the web series: Scam 2003: The curious case of Abdul Karim Lala Telgi, a web series to be streamed on Sony Liv. The suit was filed by the daughter and son-in-law of Abdul Telgi seeking injunction on the grounds that consent from the daughter was not sought and the series would destroy the image of her father and therefore the web series should not be released. The defendants argued that the series was based on the book released in 2004 and that there was a lot of material in the public domain on the Telgi scam, which the makers of Scam 2003 had referred to during the making of the series. Further, they argued that in a defamation suit, it was pertinent that the cause of action point to something causing defamation and it cannot be pre-emptive in nature.

 

Bombay High Court restrains several hotel, pubs and restaurants in Mumbai from playing songs sans license from PPL

The Bombay High Court has restrained several hotels, pubs and restaurants in Mumbai from playing songs, public performance rights of which are owned by Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), unless they pay license fees and secure copyright permissions from PPL. While hearing one of the pleas, Justice Manish Pitale said he was of the opinion that a strong prima facie case is made out for grant of such limited ex-parte ad-interim relief.

Few such orders can be found here, here here and here 

Delhi High Court Restrains Website From Publishing Copyright Photos Of Louis Vuitton

The Delhi High Court has granted relief to Louis Vuitton Malletier, a French high end luxury fashion house, by restraining a website www.haute24.com from copying or publishing photographs which would infringe its copyright. The provocation for filing the present suit is stated to be the discovery by the plaintiff of the fact, sometime in January 2022 and again in November 2022, of copyrighted photographs of the plaintiff being misused by Defendants 1 and 2 to sell their products, on the website www.haute24.com. The Delhi High Court has granted an ex-parte interim injunction to prevent the infringement from continuing further.  It issued summons to website www.haute24.com on the suit and listed the matter on February 6, 2023 before the Joint Registrar (Judicial) for completion of the pleadings, including admission and denial of documents and marking of exhibits.

Read order here.

Delhi High Court issues summons to Bear Grylls, Discovery, Nat Geo, Hotstar on suit alleging copyright infringement

The Delhi High Court on December 23 issued summons to British adventurer Bear Grylls and others in a suit filed by an Indian writer and producer named Arrmann Shharma claiming copyright infringement by the show Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendant’s show has infringed on his original copyright work ‘Aakhri Dum Takk’ (Till the Last Breath), which was pitched by him to Discovery.

Justice Amit Bansal also issued summons to entertainment company Warner Brothers Discovery, television network National Geography and over-the-top (OTT) platform Hotstar.

In the meantime, the Court referred the parties to mediation after a request was made by counsel appearing for Grylls.

The matter has now been placed before the Delhi High Court Mediation Centre on January 17, 2023. The Court will hear the suit on February 22.

Read order here.

Bombay High Court restrains organizers of Sunburn Festival in Goa from playing songs, rights of which are held by Novex Communications, without seeking license

The Bombay High Court has temporarily restrained the organisers of the Sunburn Festival in Goa, which will be held between December 28 to 30 and allied events, from playing Bollywood songs and sound recordings, which would infringe the copyrights in any songs, rights of which are held  by Novex Communications. A single-judge bench of Justice Manish Pitale on December 21 passed an order in an interim application filed by Novex Communications against Percept and Percept Live Pvt Limited in its copyright infringement suit.

The court said the organisers can approach the plaintiff, Novex Communications, for a grant of licence for playing such recordings during the event.

Novex communications claimed that it has exclusive rights over sound recordings of several music companies, and it is an authorised firm for Zee Music Company, Yash Raj Films (YRF) and Eros International Media Ltd among others.

Justice Pitale noted that there was sufficient material on record to show exclusive rights held by the plaintiff concerning sound recordings of seven music labels. The judge also found the past conduct of the defendants in considering urgent relief.

Read order here.

Delhi High Court seeks response from Central government on plea demanding government takeover of BARC

The Delhi High Court has asked the Central government and the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) for its views in a petition that calls for a government takeover of the body responsible for statistics on television audience measurement. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad have asked the Union Ministries of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs also the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The Court has given the respondents six weeks of time to file their responses and listed the case for further hearing on April 28, 2023. The Court is currently looking into a PIL that was filed by trust named Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life.

Delhi HC restrains sale of Sharbat DIL AFZA in trademark suit of ‘Sharbat ROOH AFZA’

The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has allowed the appeal of the Hamdard Group of Companies challenging the order passed by a Single Judge in the suit filed by Hamdard against Sadar Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. for Trademark Infringement and Passing Off. The Court has restrained the respondent from selling their product bearing the mark ‘Dil Afza’. A Division Bench of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan passed the order after holding that there is a clear connection between the words ‘Rooh’, which means soul, and ‘Dil’ meaning heart.

“It is thus not difficult to conceive that a person who looks at the label of DIL AFZA may recall the label of ROOH AFZA as the word ‘AFZA’ is common and the meaning of the words ‘ROOH’ and ‘DIL’, when translated in English, are commonly used in conjunction,” the Court said.

In doing so, the Bench set aside an order of a single-judge which dismissed the application filed by the Rooh Afza manufacturers seeking an injunction on the sale of Dil Afza.

Hamdard Foundation moved the High Court arguing that the sale of another sharbat by the name Dil Afza (manufactured by Sadar Laboratories) is deceptively similar to Rooh Afza and that the defendants have infringed on its trademark since the words ‘Dil’ and ‘Rooh’ have similar meanings.

It was also stated that the bottles in which the two products are being sold are similar.

Read order here.

Delhi High Court grants relief to Yves Saint Laurent in trademark infringement suit

The Delhi High Court has temporarily restrained a Delhi-based entity Brompton from using the ‘YSL’ and ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ marks owned by  fashion company Yves Saint Laurent (YSL).  Justice Sanjeev Narula held that the balance of convenience was in favour of the plaintiff (YSL) and if the defendants were not restrained, the plaintiff (YSL) would suffer irreparable loss. The suit was moved by YSL for infringement of its trademarks, copyrights and for passing off, seeking permanent and mandatory injunction against Brompton, which was allegedly unauthorisedly operating a boutique under plaintiff’s brand name in a mall in New Delhi. YSL informed the Court that it had entered into a franchise agreement with one Beverly Luxury Brands Ltd where the latter was granted a franchise to open and operate a Saint Laurent boutique. YSL stated that although the agreement stood terminated, the boutique was still operational under its name and was being run by one Brompton Lifestyle Brands Pvt Ltd. The Court observed that Brompton also admitted that the supply agreement stood terminated after the termination of franchisee agreement.

Therefore, in view of the Court, Supply Agreement, which forms the sheet anchor of Brompton’s claim of being an ‘authorised operator’ cannot sustain. There is thus no legal basis to allow Brompton to use YSL marks,” it recorded.

Read order here.

Kerala High Court notes that Google cannot claim to be content-blind intermediary; can use AI to identify, remove private data

In a batch of pleas moved by certain litigants seeking erasure of their personal details that were appearing on Google search and on legal resource website Indian Kanoon, despite their acquittal in those cases (some of the cases being matrimonial/ custody disputes), the Kerala High Court on December 22 opined that search engines like Google cannot claim to be mere intermediaries with no control over the content that appears in search results.  Division bench of Justices A Muahmed Mustaque and Shoba Annamma Eapen made the observation in a judgment on the right to be forgotten and the manner in which it applies to publication of court judgments and proceedings, in the absence of any specific legislation.

The Court observed that even though making court judgments available in search results cannot be faulted, it cannot be said that Google has no control over the information that gets thrown up in search results. Moreover, it opined that that in the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is quite possible for Google to identify the nature of the content and remove the same.

It clarified that it is not looking at the responsibility or liability of Google for publishing judgments online as per the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Rather, the Court said that it is concerned with the eternal nature of information online, which goes against the right to be forgotten. Therefore, it said that in the absence of legislation, litigants may have to approach the Court and it may have to recognise their right and direct removal of such content available online on a case-to-case basis.

Read judgement here.

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