Home / / Bulletin 12 | Apr 2024

Bulletin 12 | Apr 2024

Topical Updates: To IP & Beyond

Snapshots

DELHI HIGH COURT

VIACOM 18 MEDIA LIMITED V. JOHN DOE & ORS.

The Court, in a copyright and broadcasting rights infringement suit regarding TATA IPL 2024, issued a Dynamic+ injunction order akin to Universal City Studios LLC case, i.e., real-time blocking of rogue websites streaming existing and future IPL events, restraining existing and potential rogue websites that may emerge during the IPL events. Plaintiff was permitted to directly communicate the details of such websites to DNRs, Internet Service Providers and govt. authorities seeking blocking, and file affidavits with the Court to that effect, subsequently. Additionally, the Plaintiff’s application to implead an online betting website illegally broadcasting IPL events, was allowed later on.

DELHI HIGH COURT

WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. & ORS. V. DOODSTREAM.COM & ORS.

In a suit filed by entertainment companies for copyright infringement of their content against cyberlocker websites and their owners, the Defendants appeared through counsel and undertook to remove all listings of the Plaintiffs’ works. Rogue cyberlockers are not aggregators of user uploaded content, and provide features enabling re-uploading of infringing content after takedown requests. The Defendants agreed to disable these features and were directed to file an affidavit disclosing their revenues. Plaintiffs were permitted to monitor the takedown of the infringing listings through their designated investigator’s account on the Defendants’ platforms.

Applying the Doctrine of Equivalents using the ‘function-way-result’ triple test in a patent suit, the Court granted an injunction in favor of the Plaintiff/Patentee, stating that the substituted elements in the Defendant’s product (brick-manufacturing machines) performed substantially the same function in substantially the same way to achieve the same result. It was also emphasized that non-literal infringement can occur if the accused product copies the essence or “pith and marrow” of the patented invention, even if all elements of a claim don’t precisely correspond with the said product.

While rejecting an interim injunction application seeking to restrain the use of inter alia the mark ‘JINDAL’ per se, the Court emphasized the right of a person to use their name as an identity marker for their goods. Relying on the non obstante clause in S. 35 of the Trade Marks Act, the Court opined that there is an absolute proscription against interference with bonafide use of one’s own name which extends to infringement and passing off actions. Further, no identity or deceptive similarity were found between the rival marks.

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

THANGAM & ORS. V. NAVAMANI AMMAL

The Apex Court dismissed an appeal filed regarding the authenticity of a Will pertaining to a property which was the subject matter of a suit filed before the Trial Court. The Court observed the erroneous manner in which pleadings are filed in subordinate courts, i.e., the written statement in the present suit lacked para-wise replies to the contents of the plaint, and emphasized the requirement of specific admissions / denials under Order VIII Rules 3 and 5, CPC. The absence of the same creates a roving inquiry for the Courts to determine whether specific pleadings are admitted or denied.

Significant Judgments

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Following the interim order passed by the third judge of the Bombay High Court in “Kunal Kamra v. Union of India” and connected petitions on 11.03.2024, the Union of India notified the “Fact Check Unit” (“FCU”) in terms of Rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2022, vide notification dated 20.03.2024. The said notification has been stayed by the Apex Court till the final decision in the petitions before the Bombay High Court is rendered, stating that the challenge to the said rules raises ‘serious constitutional questions’:

22. In the course of the order dated 11 March 2024, declining interim relief, Justice AS Chandurkar inter alia adverted to the fact that the FCU had not been notified at that stage.

Thus, … it was found not necessary to stay the implementation of the Rule. The position has now undergone a change by the notification of the Rule on 20 March 2024, since the pronouncement of the order declining interim relief.

DELHI HIGH COURT

In a suit for patent infringement, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court declined to rely on and consider the ‘expert affidavit’, at the interim stage, until they are tested by cross-examination. It was highlighted that in patent cases at the interim stage, the two main issues are (i) whether the defendant’s product infringes the plaintiff’s patent, and (ii) whether the defendant has set up a credible challenge to the validity of the plaintiff’s patent under Section 64 of the Patents Act. The Court finds the defendants have made a prima facie credible challenge to the patent’s validity, and hence the plaintiff cannot be granted the interlocutory injunction.

25. I do not, therefore, propose to advert, in this order, to the affidavits on which either side has placed reliance, as, till the deponents of the affidavits are tested by cross examination, such affidavits cannot, in my opinion, constitute the basis either for grant, or for rejection, of interim injunction.

DELHI HIGH COURT

The writ petition filed before the Delhi High Court was disposed of since one of the reliefs sought by the Petitioners with respect to the notification of standard for accessibility for captioning, sub-titling & audio description had already been published by the MIB in the form of “Draft Guidelines of Accessibility Standards in the Public Exhibition of Feature Films in Cinema Theatres for Persons with Hearing and Visual Impairment” and the same are in the process of finalization.

Directions to MIB: (i) Finalize the said guidelines on or before 15.07.2024 and to ensure that the provisions for accessibility features are mandatory.

(ii) Nominate one Under Secretary as the designated officer for receipt of any representations with respect to inclusion of accessibility features in films being released. Such designated officer to respond within 3 working days.

37. A hearing or visually impaired person, may get easy physical access to a film theatre but may not be able to enjoy the film at all, if measures to make it enjoyable are not taken by the other stakeholders, including producers, theatre managers, OTT platforms, etc. The State has a positive obligation to ensure that all steps, that are reasonably possible, are taken in this direction.

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