IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023)

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CBFC asks SRK’s ‘Pathaan’ to make ‘changes’ in songs

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has directed the makers of Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Pathaan” to implement “changes” in the movie, including its songs. The movie found itself battling controversy and calls for a ban after the release of its song “Besharam Rang”, also featuring Deepika Padukone, on December 12. A sequence in the song showing Deepika in a saffron bikini led to protests across India for allegedly hurting “Hindu sentiments”.

The film recently reached the CBFC examination committee for certification. The film went through the due and thorough examining process as per the CBFC guidelines. The committee has guided the makers to implement the advised changes in the film including the songs and submit the revised version prior to theatrical release.

Delhi High Court passes John Doe order restraining rogue websites from reproducing content from talk show ‘Unstoppable’

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday passed a John Doe order restraining various rogue websites from illegally reproducing content from the show ‘Unstoppable’ which airs on the over the top (OTT) platform Aha run by Arha Media and Broadcasting [Arha Media and Broadcasting Pvt Ltd vs www.vcinema.com & Ors.].

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva observed that given the plaintiff’s investment in the show, any illegal broadcasting would severely affect its monetary interest, and also diminish the value of the show. Hence, he ruled that a strong prima facie case was made out for grant of ex-parte ad interim injunction.

The plaintiff approached the Court seeking a restraint on illegal and unauthorized dissemination of the plaintiff’s alleged original content in its talk show series ‘Unstoppable’ which airs on its OTT Platform, Aha. The plaintiff submitted that any unauthorized reproduction of any part of the show, amounts to not only an infringement of its copyright, but also an infringement of the plaintiff’s exclusive broadcast reproduction rights.

Further, the plaintiff contended that most of the infringing websites did not disclose their names, addresses and other details due to which they were joined as ‘John Doe’ parties in the suit.

The court further asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to direct all registered Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to remove any infringing links provided by the plaintiff, to direct ISPs to block rogue websites mentioned by the plaintiff and to provide plaintiff with complete details of the rogue websites, including but not limited to name, address, email address, phone number, IP address, etc., to enable the plaintiff to implead the said websites as defendants..

Read order here.

Esports recognised as official sports by the Indian Government in their attempt to distinguish online games and esports

The Indian Government has revised the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, under the 317th Amendment to the Indian Constitution. Now known as the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 2022, a recent notification from the Cabinet Secretariat of India states the modification of the country’s classification of online gaming and esports. The Government of India officially recognised esports as a ‘multisports event’ under the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

The Government of India has officially classified and sought legal distinction between Esports and Online Gaming.

According to the Act mentioned above, Online Gaming has now been put under the heading of ‘The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’ under entry 5A of the Act. While, Esports has been classified under entry 2A of the Act.

India is deemed to be a juggernaut in Esports in the coming years and this formal support in developing its infrastructure by the government will add a massive boost to this process.

Read notification here.

‘Unreasonable Delay In Filing FIR, Complaint Filed Out Of Grudge’: Mumbai Court Acquits TVF founder Arunabh Kumar In Sexual Harassment Case

A Metropolitan Magistrate recently acquitted OTT platform ‘The Viral Fever’ (TVF) founder Arunabh Nathuni Kumar of sexual harassment charges under Section 354A of the IPC.

The Metropolitan Magistrate in the judgement held that no concrete evidence was produced by the prosecution and that there is material discrepancy and contradiction in the case. He further expressed that there is unreasonable and unexplained delay in filing of the F.I.R. which raised the clouds on the case of prosecution. He further went on to observe that the said complaint is filed out of grudge or rivalry on reason of business between accused and informant.

The court also went on to say that that all witnesses were “interested witnesses” and werev involved in the same industry. After examination of all the witnesses, the court held that the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

The woman in her complaint filed in 2017 had alleged that sometime in June 2014, Kumar sexually harassed her. In 2017, the complaint said, she came to know about Kumar’s alleged bad behaviour with other women and decided to take action against him. Nine other woman had then accused Kumar of sexual harassment in 2017 during the MeToo movement.

Ideal Jawa Owner Of ‘Yezdi’, Stoppage Of Business Doesn’t Affect Rights In Trademarks: Karnataka High Court In Case Against Classic Legends

The Karnataka High Court has declared that Ideal Jawa (India) Ltd is the owner of the mark “Yezdi” (word and device) and that the trademarks of the Company (in liquidation), remain in custodia legis of the court, as they were owned by the company prior to the time of its winding up.

A single judge bench of Justice S R Krishna Kumar has restrained Boman Irani and Classic Legends Pvt. Ltd from using the yesteryears famous motorbike brand mark “Yezdi” or any other mark containing the word “Yezdi”.

Further the bench held that Irani who established Classic Legends with Mahindra & Mahindra for reviving the brand could not have obtained registration of the marks “Yezdi” during the process of winding up of the company. The conduct in obtaining registration of the marks is in bad faith and amounts to misappropriation of the assets of the Company. Accordingly, it held that all trademark, registration certificates issued by Registrar of Trademarks, Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad in favour of Irani are null and void. It has also directed Irani and Classic Legends to pay Rs 10 lakh as costs to the Official Liquidator each, which shall be utilised towards the costs and distribution to be made in the process of winding up of the Company.

The court partly allowed the application filed by the official liquidator and permitted it “to sell all trademarks and such other associated rights in and over the trademarks with all goodwill associated with the mark by public auction.”

BACKGROUND

Boman Irani had got ‘Yezdi’ trademark registered in his favour during 2013-15. Classic Legends was incorporated in 2015, and Boman Irani is one of its directors.

It was contended in court that Boman Irani’s father Rustom S. Irani, who had started Ideal Jawa, owned ‘Yezdi’ name, and hence the mark was acquired by his son after his demise. Boman Irani argued that Ideal Jawa had abandoned the trademark by not renewing it, and hence it was open to anyone to register ‘Yezdi’ before the trademark authority.

However, the court rejected these claims and said that it was the company, Ideal Jawa, which owned the trademark and not Rustom Irani, and Ideal Jawa had not abandoned its trademarks.

The court observed that Boman Irani did not bring the fact of pendency of winding up process to the notice of the registrar of trademarks, and the registrar had not issued a notice to Ideal Jawa before removing the mark from its ownership.

Read order here.

Condom Ad Featuring Couple Playing Garba| MP High Court Quashes Case Against Pharma Firm Head For ‘Hurting Sentiments’

The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently quashed criminal proceedings initiated against the head of a pharma firm for publishing a condom advertisement featuring a couple playing Garba and thereby allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

Having perused the content of the advertisement, the bench of Justice Satyendra Kumar Singh observed that the intention of the accused was just to promote the product of his company and not to hurt the religious feelings and sentiments of any community. Consequently, the Could held that offence under Section 295-A, 505 IPC and 67 IT Act are not made out, and hence, the Court quashed the FIR, Chargesheet, and also subsequent criminal proceedings pending against him before the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Indore.

The pharma company named Morphus Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. had ran a promotional offer for free condoms and pregnancy kits for two days during Navratri in 2018 and posted the image of the advertisement on Whatsapp groups and the Facebook page stating “Pre Loveratri Weekend Offer – Condoms (pack of 3)/Pregnancy Test Kit at INR 0”.

In the background of the said image, a couple playing Garba was also shown in the background. A written complaint was made stating that the advertisement published by the applicant hurt the religious sentiments of the people, and thereafter, an FIR was lodged against the applicant.

Read order here.

Delhi HC Orders to Take Down URLs Infringing Trademark of Radio Mirchi

The bench of Justice C. Hari Shankar while dealing a case seeking an order of restrain against the defendants from broadcasting/transmitting/communicating the radio adaptation of literary works in which the plaintiff has copyright, under the brand name “Sunday Suspense” on any webpage/web link/application/intermediary platform granted interim protection to the Plaintiff for their registered device mark “Mirchi”.

The right to create copyrighted audio recordings based on the aforesaid literary works stands conferred on the plaintiff for three years commencing 22nd August 2022, which continues till 21st August 2025.

Defendants 1 to 25 are alleged rogue URLs, engaged in unauthorized and illegal broadcasting transmission and communication of the plaintiff’s copyrighted audio content. These URLs used well-known platforms operated by entities such as Apple and YouTube to broadcast their content.

The case of the plaintiff is that Defendants 1 to 25 URLs provide access to the copyrighted audio content of the plaintiff, under the head “Sunday Suspense”, and also refer to the Mirchi tagline of the plaintiff.

High Court observed that a prima facie case of infringement, over the web links is made out and granted interlocutory injunctive reliefs to the Plaintiff. In view of the above, the High Court directed Defendants 26 to 30 to take down the URLs reflected as Defendants 1 to 25 from their platforms.

Read Order here.

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