Delhi HC: Mere Fact That the Company Name Must Be Affixed on the Product Does Not Justify the Use of a Company Name That Infringes a Trademark

Justice C. Hari Shankar in dealing with the matter of Mankind Pharma Ltd. v. Novakind Bio Sciences Pvt Ltd. was faced with a unique proposition.

The defendants contended that they were not using “NOVAKIND” as a trademark, but only using it as part of its corporate name. Therefore, such cases had to be tested on the anvil of Section 29(5) alone. As such, in cases in which the impugned mark of the defendant is used as part of its corporate name, if the mark of the plaintiff and the mark of the defendant are not identical, no case of infringement is made out.

Apart from that, they contended that pharmaceutical products are prescribed by doctors, and dispensed by chemists, who know their job. There was, therefore, no chance of confusion in the market.

However, the Hon’ble Court held that

  • In the present case, the defendant is using “Novakind Biosciences Pvt Ltd” as a source identifier (as per its own stand in is written statement) and as a trade mark, showing it to be registered by use of the ® symbol and placing the mark boldly and prominently on its strip. The defendant cannot, therefore, escape the clutches of Section 29(2)(b) of the Trade Marks Act by merely pigeonholing its case within Section 29(5).
  • A physician, or dispensing chemist, who finds drugs manufactured by the plaintiff especially effective, may prefer them, but may get confused into believing the drugs manufactured by the defendant to be those of the plaintiff, owing to the common “KIND” suffix. At the end of the day, the guiding principle is that, where medicines are concerned, even the slightest possibility of confusion cannot be permitted, and that, therefore, drugs – especially prescription drugs – have to be clearly distinguishable from one another.

Read order here.

Bombay High Court Refuses Interim Relief to Republic TV in Trademark Infringement Suit Against RTV News

ARG Outlier, the parent company of Republic TV, initiated this suit seeking a permanent injunction against Rayadu Vision Media, the holding company of RTV News, alleging trademark infringement and passing off of the ‘R’ trademark owned by Republic TV.

The dispute arose when Republic TV discovered YouTube channels with the name RTV around February 4, 2023, alleging that RTV had imitated its trademark and utilized a logo strikingly similar to its own.

Rayadu asserted that it had been using the ‘RTV’ logo since 2007, predating Republic TV’s incorporation in 2016. Additionally, they argued that their use of the mark was legitimate as it derived from the owner’s family name and stated that it had a pending application for the use of the ‘R’ logo for its news channel with the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Justice Manish Pitale decided that the Plaintiff failed to make a prima facie case in its favour and dismissed the application.

Read order here.

RCB Pulls Up Rajnikanth-Starrer ‘Jailer’, Producers Agree to Modify Scenes Featuring Killer Wearing RCB Jersey

Royal Challengers Sports Pvt. Ltd. Filed a suit in the Delhi High Court against Sun TV Network and the movie’s producer Mr. Kalanithi Maran objecting to the use of an RCB jersey, donned by a contract killer who makes derogatory and misogynistic statements in the movie – Jailer. It is the case of the plaintiff that the jersey being used without its permission of and in a negative depiction in the film, is likely to dilute the RCB brand image and also the rights of the sponsors whose name is also reflected in the jersey.

Immediately after, the Defendants contacted the Plaintiff and resolved their disputes. The Defendants undertook to modify the clips prior to its release on film, satellite, or any OTT platform and carry out the alteration for the theatrical mode by 1st September 2023.

Read order here.

Three Authors Summoned Over Copyright Infringement in School Text Book ‘Essentials of Artificial Intelligence’

Mr. Kartik Sharma, an educationist, teacher, and author of “Essentials of Artificial Intelligence” for classes VIII to XII filed a suit against authors who are alleged to have copied parts from his book word-for-word. Justice Prathiba M. Singh has summoned the authors of infringing books on the next date. Meanwhile, the Court has ordered that if any infringing copies of the Plaintiff’s book are found to be sold on any e-commerce platform, the Plaintiff is free to approach such platforms to take down the said infringing books from the websites of such e-commerce platforms. 

Read order here.

Delhi HC: Reliability of AI-generated Data Still Uncertain, Cannot Substitute Human Intelligence or Humane Element in Adjudicatory Process

Justice Prathiba M. Singh witnessed a unique challenge while adjudicating a commercial suit filed by Christian Louboutin alleging passing off by M/s Shoe Boutique (Shutiq). The counsel for the plaintiff relied upon responses by ChatGPT which the Ld. Judge dismissed stating that responses of Large Language Models such as ChatGPT depend upon a host of factors including the nature and structure of the query put by the user, the training data, etc. Further, the Court mentioned that there are possibilities of incorrect responses, fictional case laws, imaginative data etc. generated by AI chatbots. Accuracy and reliability of AI-generated data is still in the grey area and at the present stage of technological development, AI cannot substitute either the human intelligence or the humane element in the adjudicatory process. At best the tool could be utilized for a preliminary understanding or for preliminary research and nothing more.

Read order here.

Delhi HC: Mushrooming of Websites Has Become the Norm, Imposes ₹20 Lakh Fine on Illegal Streamers of ‘Brahmastra Part One: Shiva

In a Suit filed by Star India Pvt. Ltd. over illegal streaming of the movie ‘Brahmastra Part One: Shiva’ which impleaded over 300 rogue websites, Justice Pratibha Singh mentioned the recent amendments brought in by the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 2023 to curb piracy and observed that “the mushrooming of websites has become the norm, especially, in respect of popular copyrighted content. However, in most of these cases the identity of the persons or entities who are running these infringing websites remains anonymous or known only some times to the DNRs and non-else. Under such circumstances, insofar as the rogue websites and mirror websites are concerned, since there is no representation or defence which has been filed, permanent injunction restraining infringement, is liable to be granted.”

It further held that the Defendants will be liable for damages to the tune of Rs.20,00,000/- which will be jointly and severally payable by the mirror websites extracted in the judgement.

Read order here.

FIR Filed against Film ‘Yaariyan 2’ for Hurting Religious Sentiments

An FIR has been registered against the film’s producer Bhushan Kumar, directors Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru and actor Meezaan Jafri on complaint by Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) under IPC Section 295-A.

The SGPC demanded an immediate ban on this film and its music video on the YouTube from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics, and Central Film Board of Certification because it shows a clean-shaven and non-Sikh actor wearing a Sikh kakaar (Gatra and Kirpan – a symbol of faith), claiming that this hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community living across the globe.