‘Tandav’ Web Series Row | Supreme Court Directs States To File Status Report On FIRs, Adjourns Hearing To August
The Supreme Court of India while hearing batch of petitions filed by the makers of Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Tandav’, has adjourned the matter to the first week of August and has directed the States to file a status report on the FIR’s filed in multiple cities against the makers and actors of the show.
The Court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by the makers of Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Tandav’ for clubbing and transfer of first information reports (FIR) lodged against them in six cities for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and JB Pardiwala directed the official respondents to file a report with respect to the status of the various FIRs against director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Aparna Purohit(Amazon Prime, Creative Head). “This matter is coming up after a while.
The back story behind these batch of petitions is the controversy which arose after the release of this political thriller drama on Amazon Prime starring Saif Ali Khan as well.
The nine-episode-long show which was released in January 2021 courted controversy for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. After its release, multiple FIRs were lodged across the country against its director, producer, writer, actors, as well as Amazon India Original’s head Aparna Purohit under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Subsequently, director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, and Aparna Purohit filed petitions praying for the quashing of the proceedings, and the clubbing and transfer of all complaints to a single police station. The Court had refused to grant any interim protection to the accused and had also rejected the petitioners’ prayer for quashing of the FIRs. It however clarified that the pendency of these petitions would not prejudice the rights of petitioners to seek appropriate remedies from concerned courts for bail or quashing of FIRs. Later, the Purohit was granted anticipatory bail which was later confirmed by the apex court.
Bihar police reach out to IT ministry seeking ban on 100 gambling, gaming and illegal loan apps
The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar police has recently approached the ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity) seeking a ban on more than 100 gambling/gaming and loan lending apps that are allegedly engaged in money laundering and pose a threat to the financial security of the country.
As per the ADG (Bihar Police) the decision is taken after confirming that these apps attract Section 69 of the Information Technology (IT) Act since they contain materials which is prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India. He further informed that several complaints have been received of extortion and harassment from people who had borrowed very small amounts through such loan lending apps.
Section 69A of the IT Act empowers the government to restrict access to any online content to protect the interest of sovereignty and integrity of the nation, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states and public order.
The EOU mentioned the fact that these offences are serious in nature and such digital lending, gaming and gambling apps must be banned as they pose a threat to financial security of the country. He claimed that the EOU has been creating awareness among the masses about such apps and requests the public not to take any loans from unregistered or illegal loan apps available on the Internet and Playstore.
Explaining the modus operandi, the ADG said, “These loan apps on pretext of advancing loan also access or hack all information from the customers’ phone. And that might be used by the accused company to perpetrate other financial crimes. Most of the time such apps harass the customer by charging not only a high rate of interest, but by failure to repay the same, harass them by sending obscene materials to their contact list.”
The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has already issued an advisory stating that since betting and gambling are illegal in most parts of the country, advertisements of these betting platforms, as well as their surrogates, are also illegal under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995 and the IT Rules, 2021.
Famed cartoonist’s family threatens to sue Goa govt for ‘illegal use of artwork’
The children of famed Goa cartoonist and illustrator late Mario de Miranda have accused the state government of using their father’s ‘copyrighted artwork without their permission’ and have threatened to sue for copyright infringement.
Miranda’s sons – Rishaad and Raul have jointly written a letter to the State of Goa and have accused the organisers of the G20 events of using works created by their late father in gifts given to the VIPs during the various G20-related meetings held in Goa as well as the installation of 16 life-size fibre glass statues, which they said are illegal copies of artwork developed by the late famed cartoonist.
They further requested the organisers of the G20 meet to get permission for the usage of Mario’s artworks.
According to the Mario Gallery, which was set up by the Miranda family when the cartoonist was still alive, Mario de Miranda’s painting has been used on a tile which is used inside a miniature window as part of a gift given to the VIPs, while 16 life-size fibreglass statues have been displayed in Old Goa and Dona Paula.
Gerard da Cunha, the curator of the Mario Gallery, mentioned that the Gallery will be sending a legal notice to the state government chief secretary and the nodal officer in charge of the G20 events claiming damages for the illegal use of copyrighted work.
The state government nodal officer for G20 meetings have not yet responded to such grave allegations of copyright infringement.
Goa was host to as many as eight meetings related to India’s presidency of the G20 group of countries involving extensive preparations and dressing up the city for the visits.
Allahabad HC Grants Further 4 Weeks Time To UOI, CBFC To File Reply In PIL Against Al Jazeera’s Documentary ‘India: Who Lit The Fuse
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday granted a further 4 weeks’ time to the Union of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Central Board of Film Certification as well as Al Jazeera Media Network Private Ltd. to file their counter affidavit in a PIL plea challenging the broadcast/release of the documentary film “India….Who lit the Fuse?” in India.
The film, produced by the Qatar-based international news network, has been challenged by social activist Sudhir Kumar on the ground that the telecast of the said film has the potential to cause disharmony amongst the citizens and threaten the integrity of the Nation.
Hearing the PIL plea on June 14, the High Court restrained Al Jazeera from telecasting/broadcasting/releasing the Film in question in India in view of ‘evil consequences’ that are likely to occur if the telecast/broadcast of the film is allowed to take place.
The bench of Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava had also directed the Central Government and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take appropriate measures to ensure that the film is not allowed to be telecasted/broadcasted unless its contents are examined by the authorities, and necessary certification/authorisation is obtained from the competent authority.
The PIL plea alleges that the release/broadcast of the film is likely to create hatred amongst different religious denominations and thereby destroy the secular fabric of the Indian State and has the potential to create social unrest and disturb public order, decency and morality.
The petitioner also stated that the Film purposefully seeks to create a rift between India’s largest religious communities through its disruptive narrative and create a sense of public hatred.
It also submits that the film proposes to publicize distorted versions of facts to create disharmony amongst the citizens of the Country who belong to different religious denominations.
Lastly, it was submitted that no certificate had been obtained by Al Jazeera for the broadcast of the film in question from the competent authority under the applicable enactments. This averment was also not disputed by the Counsel for the Union of India.
Makers Of Jaswant Singh Khalra Biopic Move Bombay High Court Against CBFC’s Order For 21 Cuts
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday adjourned to July 14, a plea challenging the 21 cuts and modifications as pre-conditions by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) while certifying the biopic on prominent human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra.
Khalra was instrumental in exposing the Punjab police’s brutality in the aftermath of then prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, when Punjab was in a state of insurgency. The movie is directed by Honey Trehan with actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh in the lead.
The plea filed by producer Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP Movies (Unilazer Ventures) under Section 5C of the Cinematograph Act, challenges the cuts as being violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. The plea further states that the prescribed cuts fall outside the scope of Section 5B of the Cinematograph Act.
The film was initially submitted to the CBFC for certification in December 2022. However, as per the petitioners certification was severely delayed and even after three months, there was no response from CBFC. Following this Unilazer Ventures approached Bombay High Court in May 2023, seeking directions to CBFC to decide the application.
During the hearing, CBFC stated that a decision regarding certification of the film would be received by 26th May. Accordingly, the CBFC granted an “A” certificate to the Film with 21 cuts.
CBFC claimed that certain parts of the film and dialogues are provocative, communal, incite violence, may potentially radicalize Sikh youth, affect the integrity, and sovereignty of India, and its friendly relations with foreign states. The petitioners stated that CBFC directed the removal of some dialogues and the disclaimer of the film.
In their plea before the High Court, the petitioners claimed broadly whatever had been depicted in the film had occurred in Punjab during those troubled years (1984-1995) and is based on facts which have been researched, well documented and published in newspaper articles, books as well as Judgments of the Supreme Court of India.
Whether Procedural Changes Introduced By 2017 Trademark Rules Apply Retrospectively To Proceedings Under 2002 Rules? Delhi HC Larger Bench To Decide
The Delhi High Court has referred to the larger bench the issue of whether the rules dealing with procedural aspects, including those relating to the filing of evidence introduced by the Trademarks Rules, 2017, would apply retrospectively to proceedings initiated under the Trademarks Rules, 2002.
The bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula made the larger bench reference while dealing with the issue if the Registrar of Trademarks had rightly employed the 2002 Rules qua filing of evidence in the proceedings relating to the trademark application and opposition, while the Rules were in force.
The bench remarked that it was unable to concur with the view expressed by the Co-ordinate Bench in Mahesh Gupta v. Registrar of Trademarks and Anr, where the court had held that even after the enactment of the Trademarks Rules, 2017, the filing of evidence would be governed by the 2002 Rules if the proceedings relating to the trademark application and opposition were initiated under the 2002 Rules.
While holding that the provisions regarding the timelines for filing of evidence are merely procedural in nature, the court held that Mahesh Gupta judgment does not take note of the decisions of the Supreme Court regarding the retrospective application of procedural amendments.
The bench ruled that there was a need for clarity on whether the procedural changes introduced by the 2017 Rules apply retrospectively to the ongoing proceedings initiated under the 2002 Rules.
Noting that the 2017 Rules relating to filing of evidence have undergone considerable changes, the court said that a determination on this crucial aspect is imperative and that different interpretations would lead to different outcomes resulting in legal uncertainty.
Therefore, the court said that a definite ruling by a Larger Bench would ensure consistency and predictability in the application of the Rules.
The court has also referred to the larger bench the issue regarding whether the failure to file evidence in support of the trademark application would tantamount to ‘anything done under the Trademarks Rules, 2002’, which is saved by Rule 158 of the 2017 Rules and would continue to be governed by the 2002 Rules.
Read order here.
No Likelihood Of Confusion Between News 18’s ‘Bhaiyaji Kahin’ And Times Now Navbharat’s ‘Bhaiya Ji Superhit’: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court on 04-07-23 observed that prima facie, there is no likelihood of confusion between News 18’s “Bhaiyaji Kahin” and Times Now Navbharat’s “Bhaiya Ji Superhit” television shows.
Justice Amit Bansal dismissed the interim injunction application moved by TV 18 Broadcast Limited, which is part of the Network18 group, in its suit against Bennett Coleman and Company Limited alleging infringement of its trademark “Bhaiyaji Kahin” which is the name of its Hindi news show.
News 18 told the court that it first aired its show in December 2016 and has broadcasted over 1,200 episodes. The suit was filed after News 18 came to know that Times Now Navbharat was launching a show titled “Bhaiya Ji Superhit” using a similar mark where “newsworthy issues” are to be brought to light through humour and satire.
Refusing interim relief to News 18, Justice Bansal said that the term “Bhaiyaji” is a word of common use in certain State like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which translates to “brother” and therefore, the word is of a non-distinctive character.
The court further observed that having regard to the aforesaid, the plaintiff is not entitled to exclusive rights over the mark “Bhaiyaji” in terms of Section 17 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The Court further observed that there is no similarity between the term “Kahin” used by the News 18 and the term “Superhit” used by Times Now Navbharat.
Further, the court stated that in view of the disclaimer with regard to the term “Bhaiyaji” under class 41, the plaintiff cannot restrict the defendant from using the said term. This is also made clear by Section 28(2) of the Trade Marks Act, which provides that the exclusive right to use of a trademark shall be subject to any condition and limitation that is part of the registration granted.
The court also observed that News 18’s show is an interactive show that is not scripted whereas the show Bhaiya Ji Superhit is scripted and non- interactive.
Read order here.
Evidence By Way Of Affidavit Not Mandatory When Documentary Evidence Sufficient For Determining Well-Known Status Of Trademark: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has held that when documentary evidence is sufficient for determining the well-known status of a trademark, the filing of evidence by way of affidavit is not mandatory.
Justice Prathiba M. Singh considered the question about the nature of the evidence, and the documents required to be filed by an applicant for determination as a well-known trademark under Section 11 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, read with Rule 124 of the Trade Mark Rules, 2017.
The court said the evidence would have to be substantially documentary in nature, which would establish contemporaneous and continuous use, reputation and goodwill.
The court noted that Rule 124 of the 2017 Rules uses the word “evidence and documents” and said the same could also include affidavits by way of evidence and other documents.
The court said the nature of the determination by the Registrar would in any event entail filing of the documentary evidence, as mere affidavits by way of evidence without supporting documents may not even be sufficient to establish the well- known status of the mark.
Considering the legal position, particularly the Evidence Act and the Public Notice issued for inviting applications to recognize well-known trademark, the court held that in order for a determination of well-known status of a trademark, affidavit by way of evidence cannot be held to be a mandatory requirement for grant of well- known status under the 1999 Act and the 2017 Rules. “However, documentary evidence would be required,” it added.
Analyzing the Trademarks Act and Rules, the court added that if the Registrar is of the opinion that any particular documents need to be supported by way of an affidavit, an opportunity can be given to the applicant to file such an affidavit rather than rejecting the application in a completely summary manner.
Read order here.
PIL in Delhi HC challenges new online gaming rules
An NGO based in Noida has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court questioning the legislative and constitutional validity of the Information Technology Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Amendment Rules, 2023, specifically regarding online gaming.
The NGO argues that these rules exceed the legislative competence of the Union Government, as the Constitution grants exclusive powers to states to formulate laws on “betting and gambling.” The NGO also points out that the introduction of rules by the Central Government has led to regulatory confusion, resulting in a conflicting set of laws concerning online gaming.
It is currently unclear whether state or central laws should be followed in relation to online gaming. Additionally, the NGO has expressed concerns about the government’s move towards establishing self-regulatory bodies (SRBs). The rules outsource regulatory powers of the state to SRBs, with online gaming companies financing these bodies.
Delhi HC restrains Cipla Health from using marks Gluco-C, Gluco-D
The Delhi High Court has restrained Cipla Health from using brands Gluco-C and Gluco-D noting that Cipla Health’s trademarks were found to be “deceptively similar” to Zydus’ trademarks, Glucon-C and Glucon-D.
“Pending disposal of the suit, the defendants (Cipla Health) as well as all others acting on their behalf shall stand restrained from using the marks, Gluco-C or Gluco-D, either by themselves or as part of the marks, Prolyte Gluco-C ++ or Prolyte Gluco-D ++, or as part of any other mark which would be deceptively similar to the plaintiff‘s (Zydus Wellness) registered marks, Glucon-C or Glucon-D, respectively,” said Justice C Hari Shankar in his 3rd of July order.
However, the court held that the trade dress of the defendants‘ product cannot be treated as deceptively similar to that of the plaintiff, insofar as a customer of average intelligence and imperfect recollection is concerned, the allegation of passing off, levelled by the plaintiff against the defendants, cannot, prima facie, sustain. The differences in the trade dresses and appearance of the packs of the plaintiff‘s GLUCON-D and the defendants‘ Gluco-C, or Gluco-D, are sufficient to negative, at a prima facie stage at least, any possibility of the defendants being able to pass off their product as that of the plaintiff.
Read order here.
Delhi High Court dismisses Pepsi appeal against IPR revocation order
The Delhi High Court on July 5 dismissed Pepsi’s appeal against an order that revoked the company’s patent-protected potato variety used for making chips.
Pepsi had filed an appeal under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001, challenging the December 3, 2021, order.
The Authority order revoked Pepsi’s registration with respect to plant variety- FL 2027 potato variety, on three grounds (Section 34(a), (b), (c) and (h)) of the Act. Pepsi’s application for renewal of its registration was also rejected.
Pepsi’s application for renewal of its registration was also rejected. The grounds under which protection to Pepsi was revoked by the Authority are incorrect information furnished by the applicant; breeder not providing registrar with such information, documents or material as required for registration under this Act; and grant of the certificate of registration not being in public interest.
The revocation order, passed in December 2021, took away Pepsi’s Plant Variety Protection certificate on the potato variety. Plant variety protection provides legal protection of a plant variety to a breeder in the form of plant breeder’s rights (PBRs). PBRs are IPRs that provide exclusive rights to a breeder of the registered variety.
PepsiCo Inc (appellant) is engaged in manufacturing, distribution, and sale of non-alcoholic beverages such as Pepsi, Mirinda and 7UP. It also makes and sells salted snacks and foods such as Lay’s and Uncle Chipps.
The beverage company claimed that FL 2027 is a chipping potato variety with low-external defects. It has high dry matter/high solids content and stable sugars, all of which make it highly suitable for the manufacture of chips.