It’s Not Always a ‘Good Time’, DHC Restrains Manufacturer from Selling Biscuits under ‘Good Time Butter Cookies’ Mark
An ad-interim injunction was passed in a suit filed by Britannia against Amar Biscuits Pvt. Ltd. and its promoters seeking to restrain them from manufacturing and selling cookies under the infringing marks alleging that the packaging was near identical to their products.
It is curious to note that as per the Facebook posts of the defendant, the cookies were sold under a different trade dress under the name of ‘Butter Cookies’ till 2022 and were rebranded thereafter.
The Hon’ble Court remarked, “By their very nature, butter cookies are products which are purchased by children, by literate and illiterate people across urban and rural areas…Any attempt to imitate the name, the mark or the packaging would have to be stopped immediately inasmuch as the consumers are likely to get confused between the two sets of products. Considering that these are food products any chances of confusion has to be completely avoided.”
Read order here.
Delhi High Court Grants Dynamic Injunction to Viacom18 for ‘Big Boss’
The issue cropped up when 5 websites with names identical to the words ‘Bigg Boss’ cropped out and made available all past episodes of the show in an unauthorized and unlicensed manner for viewing in a Video-On-Demand model.
After considering the overall facts of the case, the Court agreed that the balance of convenience lied with the plaintiff and restrained all five defendants from broadcasting, telecasting, streaming, retransmitting and hosting any episodes of the Bigg Boss programme, which have already been telecasted or which are likely to be telecasted in the near future. It also ordered for the domain names to be locked/suspended immediately.
Apart from this, the Court was pleased to grant a dynamic injunction by clarifying that if any further websites with the name Bigg Boss or websites telecasting illegally, the programmes of the plaintiff, were found, the plaintiff could implead these websites and the injunction along with suspension of domain names would apply to these as well.
Read order here.
No Compromise on OTT Rules on Display of Anti-Tobacco Warnings, Government Reiterates
In response to a recent media report that alleged that the Union Government had reached an uneasy compromise with OTT streaming services, the Union Health Ministry re-asserted that there will be no compromise on the incorporation of anti-tobacco warnings in their content in accordance with the OTT rules 2023 which came into effect on 1st September, 2023.
“The media report is not factually correct and does not reflect the correct picture of the Union Government’s commitment towards improving public health as one of its priority duties,” the ministry said in a statement.
Music Publishers Band Together in Lawsuit Against AI Company ‘Anthropic’
Universal Music, ABKCO, and Concord Publishing have jointly sued artificial intelligence company ‘Anthropic’ in Tennessee Federal Court accusing it of misusing “innumerable” copyrighted song lyrics to train its chatbot Claude.
It alleges that Anthropic violates publishers’ rights through its use of lyrics from a vast repository of at least 500 songs and copying these lyrics without permission to train their chatbot.
It also alleges that the chatbot illegally reproduces the lyrics by request, and in response to “a whole range of prompts that do not seek Publishers’ lyrics”, including “requests to write a song about a certain topic, provide chord progressions for a given musical composition, or write poetry or short fiction in the style of a certain artist or songwriter”.
This is not the first time a lawsuit has been filed against AI Companies challenging their use of artists’ content for training their chatbots. American comedian and author Sarah Silverman along with Christopher Golden and Richard Kadley had previously initiated a lawsuit against OpenAI and Meta on similar grounds.
Govt Directs Significant Social Media Intermediaries to Take Action Against Fake News, Business Standard Reports
According to a recent report by Business Standard, the Union Government has written to significant social media intermediaries (SSMIs) including the likes of YouTube, X, Meta etc. to submit an action taken note on dispelling ‘fake’ news and unlawful content within 10 days.
For YouTube specifically, the memorandum states that it should add a ticker with news channels whose news is not verified and it should adopt an appropriate policy to take legal action against such channels.
It is pertinent to note that earlier this year, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 were notified.
All Eyes on Madras High Court, Google Waits in Anticipation
A batch of 13 civil appeals against Google and its subsidiaries is currently pending before the Madras High Court. These cases revolve around the service fees charged to business establishments using Google Play to feature Android applications offering digital goods and services in India.
Litigants have accused Google of abusing its dominant market position, as the Android operating system powers 96% of mobile phones in India. They contend that Google imposes “unconscionable and arbitrary” conditions on app developers who want their apps listed on Google Play. Specifically, they point to Google Play Billing System (GPBS), which became mandatory for processing payments in 2020.
However, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) directed Google not to prevent app owners from using third-party payment aggregators, leading to the introduction of User Choice Billing System (UCBS). However, it is contended that Such a payment policy violates the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems (PSS) Act, 2007.
Google argues that the suit is not maintainable under the Commercial Courts Act and should be addressed by the CCI instead. When asked by the Chief Justice whether the argument related to violation of the PSS Act can also be raised before the CCI, Google replied that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the right authority to adjudicate upon such a violation and the CCI can always refer the issue to the RBI.
DHC Grants Relief to NYKAA, Restrains Use of ‘OYKAA’ Mark and Directs Suspension of Website
The Delhi High Court while dealing with a trademark infringement suit filed by Nykaa ruled in its favour and restrained the use of ‘OYKAA’ mark and any other mark identical or similar to the plaintiffs’.
It also observed, “Insofar as the website www.oykaa.com is concerned, the website shall be placed under lock and suspension by the concerned DNR. If the Defendants do not take down the said website, the Plaintiffs are given the liberty to approach the concerned DNR for locking and suspending the said domain name.”
Read order here.
Madras High Court Asks Tamil Nadu Government to Reconsider Showtime Request by ‘Leo’ Movie Producers
The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to reconsider a request from Seven Screen Studios, producers of the upcoming movie ‘Leo’, seeking permission to screen five shows a day in cinema theatres. The request, which aims to extend showtimes between 7 AM and 1:30 AM, was made due to the film’s 2-hour 45-minute duration and mandatory time gaps between shows and intervals.
However, the court refrained from addressing the filmmakers’ plea for a 4 AM show on the film’s release day. The State currently has an order allowing film screenings in theatres only between 9 AM and 1:30 AM each day. While the government accepted the request for five daily shows, it did not alter the showtime commencement. The State agreed to reconsider the request with a focus on public safety and crowd control. The Court emphasized that any reconsideration must ensure the public’s safety and prevent theatre overcrowding.
Karnataka High Court Rejects Chancery Pavilion’s Appeal, Directs Case Against IPRS to Delhi High Court
The High Court of Karnataka has dismissed an appeal by Chancery Pavilion, a city hotel, stating that the hotel should pursue its case against the Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd (IPRS) in the Delhi High Court. The city court previously rejected Chancery Pavilion’s petition, which alleged that IPRS was attempting to extort money illegally. Subsequently, IPRS initiated legal proceedings in the Delhi court to recover money from the hotel for playing copyrighted songs.
Chancery Pavilion claimed that IPRS had issued intimidating public notices in various newspapers, instructing establishments and outlets playing pre-recorded music to obtain licenses. To avoid harassment and pressure, the hotel obtained a license. However, IPRS later claimed that the license had expired in December 2017 and demanded Rs. 7,86,718.
IPRS argued that it administers the public performance rights of musical works and literary works of its members, including author-composers and music publishers. They had initiated action against the hotel in the High Court of Delhi in April 2013 and since a suit had been filed in the Delhi High Court, the case should not continue in Bengaluru.
The hotel pointed out that it had filed the suit under Section 60 of the Copyright Act after the threat posed by the alleged copyright owner. However, the HC pointed out that IPRS had initiated the legal proceedings under the same proviso.
The Karnataka High Court clarified that it had not provided an opinion on the case’s merits. It directed Chancery Pavilion to address the matter in the Delhi High Court, allowing for the case to be decided on its merits.