Bombay HC Grants Injunction Against Instagram Accounts Showing Clips Of Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story

A dynamic injunction has been granted by Justice Manush Pitale of Bombay High Court against 32 Instagram accounts and a certain John Doe in a copyright infringement suit filed by the makers of the OTT series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story.

The plaintiff Applause Entertainment Pvt Ltd is the copyright assignee of the book Scam 1992 (on which the web-series is based on) for the purpose of adapting it on screen. Applause claimed that it has the publicity and character rights on the web-series and the cast members. It alleged that 33 Instagram accounts were using substantial parts of the web series clips etc. to promote their business activities. According to the plaintiff, it filed complaints with Instagram against the handles but Instagram took no action against them. The current order directs Meta to remove the infringing posts already exisiting and they have to disclose the contacts details, IP adresses and physical location of the owners of these accounts on Instagram. Further, by means of using the dynamic injunction, there holder of the copyright shall be able to extend the order of the main injunction against similar websites that is infringing upon the copyright.

The dynamic injunction will operate till June 19, 2023, the next date of hearing.

Click here for the order.

The Kerala Story:

(i) Kerala High Court Refuses To Stay “The Kerala Story”: Producer agrees to remove ‘32,000 women converted’ from teaser

The Kerala High Court refused to stay the release of the controversial film ‘The Kerala Story’, which hit theatres on Friday. Refusing to stay the release of the film while considering a batch of petitions, the Court observed that the film only says it ‘inspired by true events’. The bench also noted that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has certified the film for public viewing. The bench also watched the trailer and opined that there was nothing offensive to any particular community in it. The bench also noted that none of the petitioners has watched the film and that the producers have added a disclaimer that the film is a fictionalised version of events.

There is something called freedom of speech and expression. They have artistic freedom, we have to balance that also. What is there in the film that is against Islam? There is no allegation against a religion, but only against the organization ISIS.” the court noted.

The Kerala Story’s trailer was viewed by the bench before quashing the stay order. The bench claimed no one community would find the film insulting. The court wanted to know if the entire trailer violated social norms. “Nothing will happen just because the film is screened. The teaser of the film was released in November. What was offensive in the film? What is wrong in saying that Allah is the only God? The country gives the citizen the right to believe in their religion and God and spread it. What was offensive in the trailer?,” the court noted.

So many movies have already come out about such organizations. There have been references against Hindu monks and Christian priests in many films before. Did you see all this in the way of fiction? What is so special now? How does this movie create sectarianism and conflict in society?” the court observed.

Justice Nagaresh during the hearing asked the Counsel appearing for the Producer of the Film from where did they get the figure of 32,000 women being converted to which he responded that the numbers were based on the information which the makers got; however, he agreed to remove the teaser, which made the claim and and called the movie the story of three women from Kerala, in its trailer description.

Read order here.

(ii) Madras High Court rejects PIL seeking ban on movie The Kerala Story

The Madras High Court  rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking a ban on the Hindi film, The Kerala Story. A vacation bench of Justices AD Jagadish Chandira and C Sarvanan said that the Kerala High Court is already hearing a similar challenge and that the petitioner has approached the Court at “the last hour”.

(iii) Supreme Court refuses to pass urgent orders in plea against release of movie The Kerala Story

The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the release of film The Kerala Story or pass any orders for urgent listing of the case before the Kerala High Court. A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala stated that it would be improper for them to pass orders since the case was no longer before them. The Court also said that the labour and efforts of the producer and actors involved should be taken into account.

Madras High Court grants John Doe order to curb piracy of “Ponniyin Selvan: II” 

On a petition filed by ‘Lyca Productions’, makers of ‘Ponniyin Selvan:II’, Justice S Sounthar ordered a ban on the release of ‘PS2’ on pirated websites. In all, 3,888 websites including have been forbidden to release the film.

Read order here.

BBC Documentary on PM Modi: Delhi court issues summons to BBC, Wikipedia, Internet Archive

Delhi’s Rohini court issued summons to the BBC, Wikipedia, Internet Archive  on a defamation suit filed by BJP leader Binay Kumar Singh in relation to its documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’ aired by BBC in January this year, which has been already banned by the Central government.

Additional District Judge Ruchika Singla of Rohini Court  issued the summons and listed it for hearing on May 11. The court has given 30 days to the defendants to file written replies to the suit. The suit states that the allegations made in the documentary against the RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are motivated by malicious intent to defame the organizations and their members or volunteers. It has also sought to pass a direction to the Defendants ordering them to tender an unconditional apology to the Plaintiff as well as to RSS and VHP for the libellous and defamatory content published in the two-volume documentary series.

Mere addition of word or logo not sufficient distinguisher: Delhi High court restrains food company from using ‘Monsoon Harvest’ in suit for infringement by Monsoon Harvest Farms

The Delhi High Court recently restrained a food and beverages firm Green Light Foods Private Limited from using the marks ‘Monsoon Harvest’, ‘Wingreens Monsoon Harvest’ or any other trademark similar to ‘Monsoon Harvest Farms’ after the latter filed a suit for infringement.

The court noted the goods of both entities are similar and allied as they are food items which are sold over the counter and “The mark of the plaintiff and the defendant prima facie appear to be similar both visually as also phonetically, with ‘MONSOON HARVEST’ being the dominant part thereof. Mere addition of the word ‘WINGREENS’ or the logo in the the defendant’s mark is not sufficient to distinguish the same on application of the test of an unwary purchaser of an average intelligence with an imperfect recollection”.

Click here to read order.

Delhi High Court Rules in Favor of BPI Sports: ‘Trade Mark Squatting’ Amounts To ‘Bad Faith’ under Trade Marks Act

The Delhi High Court by its single judge Justice C. Hari Shankar has observed that, ‘Trade mark squatting’ which is an internationally known intellectual property misdemeanor, amounts to ‘bad faith’ within the meaning of Section 11(10)(ii) of the Trade Marks Act, though it does not find specific place in the Trade Marks Act.

The Court was adjudicating a petition filed under Section 57 of the Trade Marks Act, filed by the BPI SPORT ’LLC, seeking removal of the trademark ‘BPI SPORTS’ registered in favor of a certain Saurabh Gulati. The US based company further said that it is a leading player in the dietary and nutritional supplements sector and that the word mark “BPI SPORTS” stands registered in its favour in the US in respect of dietary and nutritional supplements. As per the company, it started using the mark “BPI SPORTS ” in India in January 2019.

The bench observed that Gulati was aware that the mark was registered in the name of BPI Sports in the USA in the capacity of importer of the company for the India jurisdiction and that the company enjoyed global repute in the said mark. In this regard, the court noted “The intention of the respondent to capitalise on the petitioner‟s reputation with respect to the said mark appears, therefore, to be transparent”

The court however dismissed the contention of the petitioner-company that the registration of the word mark “BPI SPORTS” in favour of Gulati infringed its registered trade mark and noted “This is an obviously incorrect submission, as the petitioner holds no registration in its favour in India of the mark BPI SPORTS either as a word mark or as a devicemark, and infringement, under Section 29 of the Trade Marks Act, can only be of a registered trade mark,” It further  noted that the plaint invoked Section 11(1), (2) and (3) of the Trade Marks Act and observed that  “Section 11(1) and (2) are applicable where the mark whose registration is sought, is identical with, or similar to, an “earlier trade mark”.

The Court perused the provision defining ‘well known trade mark’, under clause (zg) of Section 2(1) of the Trade Marks Act, and observed that there was no declaration of the petitioner’s mark as a ‘well-known trade mark.’

Considering the facts of the case, the Court found that the petitioner was, however, entitled to relief on the basis of Section 11(10)(ii)21 of the Trade Marks Act, which requires the Registrar, while registering the mark, to take into consideration the bad faith involved either of the applicant or the opponent affecting the right relating to the trademark. Perusing Section 11(10)(ii), the Court said, “though the provision is worded in a somewhat open-ended fashion, requiring the Registrar to, while registering a mark, ‘take into consideration’ the bad faith of the applicant, it does not expressly state that the existence of bad faith would disentitle the applicant to registration. Statutory provisions have, however, to be interpreted in a purposive manner, and cannot be regarded as mere superfluity. Even otherwise, plainly read, the intent and purpose of Section 11(10)(ii) is obviously to disentitle registration of a mark, the request for registration of which is tainted by bad faith.”

Click here to read order.