IPRMENTLAW WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS (November 27- December 3, 2023)

Central Consumer Protection Authority Issues Guidelines For Prevention And Regulation Of Dark Patterns

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), in exercise of powers under Section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, has issued  guidelines to provide for the prevention and regulation of dark patterns. The guidelines are called the Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns, 2023. Access here.
Under the Guidelines, “dark patterns” shall mean any practices or deceptive design pattern using user interface or user experience interactions on any platform that is designed to mislead or trick users to do something they originally did not intend or want to do, by subverting or impairing the consumer autonomy, decision making or choice, amounting to misleading advertisement or unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights;

These guidelines shall apply to – (i) all platforms, systematically offering goods or services in India; (ii) advertisers; (iii) sellers.

No person, including any platform, shall engage in any dark pattern practice. Further, any person, including any platform, shall be considered to be engaging in a dark pattern practice if it engages in any practice specified in Annexure 1 of the guidelines which provide the dark pattern practices and illustrations.

The Annexure-1 of guidelines, have a list of 11 specified dark patterns. These are— false urgency; basket sneaking; confirm shaming; forced action; subscription trap; interface interference; bait and switch; drip pricing; disguise advertisement; nagging; trick question; Saas billing; and rogue malwares.

Delhi High Court stays proceedings against Sony Pictures booked for derogatory language against Dhobi community

The Delhi High Court stayed the proceedings against Sony Pictures (Culver Max Entertainment) which has been booked for telecasting a show containing derogatory language against the ‘Dhobi’ community.   The stay will remain in force till the next date of hearing of the matter on January 15, 2024.

FIR was in relation to the dialogue “Do kaudi ka dhobi” uttered by one of the characters in episode 33 of the show ‘Pushpa Impossible’ telecast on Sony SAB TV.

Culver Max Entertainment had approached the High Court against an order of the trial court summoning the company through its Managing Director Narinder Pal for offence under Section 3(1)(u) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act). Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Devender Kumar Jangala of the Patiala House Court had taken cognisance of the offence under Section 3(1)(u) of the SC/ST Act and had directed the accused to appear before the court on December 2. This prompted the plea before the High Court.

Counsel for Sony argued that trial court has issued summons to the company which is not permissible under Section 3(1)(u) of the SC/ST Act and that only a person who is not a member of the SC/ST community can be prosecuted but here a company is involved and a company cannot be a member of any community.

The Court considered the case and stayed the proceedings with regard to Sony. It clarified that the stay is only with regards to the company and not other accused which includes the actors, the writer and producer of the show.

Read here.

CBFC Officer Arrested in CBI Sting Operation Over Alleged Bribery Scandal in Bengaluru” 

Recently, an officer from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Prashant Kumar, along with two private individuals, was apprehended by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at SRV Studio in Malleswaram, Bengaluru. The arrest followed a complaint from a Kannada filmmaker who alleged that Prashant had been demanding bribes to certify a movie. The filmmaker, facing persistent obstacles, approached the CBI after enduring a week of alleged harassment. In response, the CBI conducted a sting operation, catching Prashant red-handed and accepting a bribe of Rs 12,000 during their visit to SRV Studio on November 28 at 6 pm. Read here.

T-Series Music label head withdraws petition against ‘rape’ FIR 

Bhushan Kumar, the chairperson and managing director of T-Series, withdrew his petition related to an alleged rape case after the magistrate court accepted the closure report filed by the police. In July 2021, a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her between September 2017 and August 2022 under the pretext of offering her a job in his music record label and film production company. The division bench of Justice Prakash D Naik and Justice Nitin R Borkar acknowledged that his writ plea had become irrelevant due to developments in the magistrate court and permitted him to withdraw the plea. Read here.

PIB’s Fact Check Unit Exposes 9 YouTube Channels Spreading False Information
On Friday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting revealed that the Press Information Bureau’s fact-check unit had identified nine YouTube channels disseminating fake news and misinformation in India. The channels, including ‘Bharat Ekta News’, ‘Bajrang Education’, ‘Bj News’, ‘Sansani Live TV’, ‘GVT News’, ‘Daily Study’, ‘Ab Bolega Bharat’, ‘Sarkari Yojana Official’, and ‘Aapke Guruji’, were specifically flagged by the PIB’s fact-check unit, as outlined in the ministry’s released list. Read here.

Bombay High Court Orders Seizure of Soybean Oil from MP-Based Company in Patanjali Trademark Dispute

The Bombay High Court has taken action in favor of Patanjali Foods Ltd in a trademark dispute, ordering the immediate seizure of refined soybean oil produced by a Madhya Pradesh-based company. The court appointed a receiver, citing an “overwhelming prima facie case” in favor of Patanjali, as the MP-based company’s trademark was deemed “deceptively similar” to Patanjali’s. Justice Riyaz Chagla noted that the rival trademarks were not coincidental and directed the court receiver to complete the seizures, with a detailed order to be uploaded on the court’s website. Patanjali had argued that the MP-based company’s trademark was identical to its own registered marks, ‘TULSI’ and ‘TULSI GOLD.’ The court also highlighted that the MP-based company’s application for the trademark ‘TULSI GOLD’ was withdrawn in 2015 after objections were raised by the trademark office. Read here.

Dialmytrip vs MakeMyTrip; Delhi High Court restrained Dialmytrip
The Delhi High Court has prevented Dialmytrip from using its name and www.dialmytrip.com for travel-related services, following a case by MakeMyTrip. MakeMyTrip argued that Dialmytrip’s name and website were similar and could cause confusion. The reporting says that Dialmytrip initially focused on financial services but later expanded into tours and travel. In March 2020, it applied for the trademark DMT (Your Business Buddy). MakeMyTrip got to know about Dialmytrip in May 2023 and issued a cease and desist letter. Dialmytrip, in July 2023, claimed to be mainly involved in banking and insurance since 2015, with minimal tour and travel services (0.8% of turnover). Dialmytrip argued its services didn’t overlap significantly with MakeMyTrip.

Nevertheless, the Delhi High Court concluded that the names MakeMyTrip and Dialmytrip were “confusingly similar,” especially within the realm of online travel business. The court raised apprehensions that Dialmytrip’s name could be viewed as an extension or affiliate of MakeMyTrip, creating a potential threat of “irreparable loss” to the well-established company.

Read here.

Bombay High Court Declines To Restrain Use Of ‘ANNA’ Trademark, Cites Plaintiff’s Stand Of Dissimilarity During Registration Stage

The Bombay High Court has rejected the request to restrict the use of the ‘ANNA’ trademark, citing the plaintiff’s earlier assertion of dissimilarity during the registration process. The court emphasized that a party’s stance during trademark registration proceedings cannot be disregarded in subsequent infringement or passing-off cases. In this instance, the court applied the doctrine of prosecution history estoppel, stating that the plaintiff had twice informed the Trademark Registry that there was no similarity between their mark and the defendant’s ‘ANNA’ mark. The plaintiff made this declaration despite knowing that the defendant intended to use the ‘ANNA’ mark for the same class of goods and services. Read here.