Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ta Ta, WIPO. New Candidate for Worst UDRP Decision Ever [WIPO]

An Indian company is taking a domain battle to court after a WIPO domain panelist handed its domain owner to conglomerate Tata Sons. The domain at issue is OKTaTaByeBye.com, a travel web site based on the colloquial saying “Ta Ta”, as in bye-bye or see you later. OKTaTaByeBye.com is run by a large online travel company that operates MakeMyTrip.com.

TaTa Sons stated in its complaint that “the Respondent has not shown any demonstrable preparation to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.”

OKTaTaByeBye refuted that in its response, stating that the site is a travel journal and community site. A look at historical DomainTools thumbnails shows that the site has been operating since at least 2006 with active traveler discussion boards.

But the response by WIPO panelist Pavan Duggal is almost humorous in nature. Despite the overwhelming evidence presented by OKTaTaByeBye.com that it is a legitimate, online travel community, Duggal focuses on on how the site links back to the company’s MakeMyTrip.com site, where people can book trips online. This, according to Duggal, shows that OKTaTaByeBye.com is actually trying to use TaTa’s trademark to “fish” for new customers to its MakeMyTrip.com site. Apparently operating an online travel community that supports a related web site is not OK.

The company is discussing the fight on its blog in a post that has received 1,256 comments.
Courtesy: Domain Name Wire

Reliance withdraws GI tag applications for Jamnagar and KG Gas [India]

Reliance Industries Ltd, the nation's most valued company, has withdrawn applications to register the terms, 'Jamnagar' and 'Krishna Godavari', as geographical indication (GI) tags for its petro products. The Mukesh Ambani-led RIL had sought the GI tag for five products, four with a prefix of 'Jamnagar' and one for Krishna Godavari Gas.
The company has now 'withdrawn' its applications for four products, including Jamnagar Petrol, Jamnagar Fuel, Jamnagar LPG and Jamnagar Diesel, while request for the registration ofKrishra Godavari Gas has been 'abandoned', a senior official from Chennai-based Geographical Indication Registry told PTI. RIL, however, declined to comment on the issue. The GI is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that region.
A GI status provides legal protection and facilitates for action in case of infringement. Further, it promotes economic prosperity of producers in a particular area. GIs are covered as an element of Intellectual Property Rights. GL Verma, Assistant Registrar of Trade Marks & GI, said the applications of RIL for the term Jamnagar was facing opposition and now the company had withdrawn its applications. RIL has withdrawn its GI applications exactly after four years of filing. The company had filed its applications for these products on September 15, 2005, as per the details with the office of Geographical Indications. Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks also confirmed the withdrawal and abandonment of applications.
Under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, the GI office functions under the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks. RIL had filed applications under class 4 of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Class 4 of the Act deals with products for industrial oils and greases, lubricants, dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions, fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants,candles and wicks. The GI status for the products with Jamnagar prefix was sought for the geographical areas of Gujarat, whereas the tag for Krishna Godavari Gas was for Andhra Pradesh. "The decision in this case is a standard practice," Rodney D Ryder, an intellectual property law expert at Delhi-based legal firm Kochhar & Co, said. In past, the GI tag has been awarded to a number of products or goods such as the famous Darjeeling Tea, Madhubani Paintings, Kashmiri Sozani Craft and Thanjavur Painting.

Japan topples US in number of patents issued: UN agency

Japan granted the maximum number of patents in 2007 and has replaced the United States from number one position, a status it was enjoying for nearly adecade, a UN agency report says. "The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), which has issued the highest number of patents since 1998, was overtaken in 2007 by the patent office of Japan," the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) said in a statement today.
Geneva-based WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations for developing a balanced and accessible international system in the field of intellectual property rights. Further, the patent office of China has replaced the EPO (European Patent Office) as the fourth largest office in terms of issuing grants, WIPO said in its report titled the "World Intellectual Property Indicators 2009." The report is based on 2007 figures, the last year for which complete worldwide statistics are available, WIPO said. In 2007, Japan granted 1.64 lakh patents, whereas in USA the number was 1.57 lakh. The total number of granted patent in that year stands at 18.5 lakh. In terms of patent filing, the report said Patent offices of India, Brazil and Mexico, received a significant number of filings, report stated. Trends in intellectual property activity shows that demand for IP rights continued to increase prior to the onset of the global economic crisis, it said.

Banarasi Silk receives GI rights [India]

Banarasi silk products have been registered under Geographical Indication (GI) rights with the name ‘Banaras Brocades and Sarees’. This is the first ever GI status that any product in Eastern UP has received. Malihabadi Dussehri mango is another product that is enjoying GI status in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The GI rights curb others from processing or marketing any product under the same name and are as good as intellectual property rights. The GI certificate for Banarasi silk products have been received by the office of Assistant Director (Handloom) and other applicants.
The certificate will prove to be advantageous for the exporters and consumers, along with the handloom weavers, said Mr. Rajni Kant, President, Human Welfare Association (HWA) who is also one of the applicants.As GI status is the measure to restrict the misuse of Banarasi sari brand, it would benefit around 12 lakh people who are directly or indirectly associated with handloom silk industry of the region. According to the certificate issued by the registrar of GI, Banaras Brocades and Sarees come under four classes (13-26) that include silk brocades, textile goods, silk saree, dress material and silk embroidery. This registration is for 10 years, which can be renewed further. Organizations such as UK based Find Your Feet, Department for International Development and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) India offered support to secure the GI status, said Mr. Kant. Nine organizations had applied for the GI registration of world famous Banarasi saree and brocade, to the Chennai-based Geographical Indication Registry in July 2007 and they received the GI status on September 4 this year, nearly after two years.
The nine organizations were, Banaras Bunkar Samiti , Human Welfare Association (HWA), joint director industries (eastern zone), director of handlooms and textiles Uttar Pradesh Handloom Fabrics Marketing Cooperative Federation, Eastern UP Exporters Association (EUPEA), Banarasi Vastra Udyog Sangh, Banaras Hath Kargha Vikas Samiti and Adarsh Silk Bunkar Sahkari Samiti. Banaras, which is among the premier weaving centres in the country, is very popular for its glamorous, colourful and exclusive varieties of saris such as Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tissu and Butidar, and also for brocade and dress materials.

Record companies sue 'Ellen' show over copyrights [United States]

Some of the world's largest recording companies are suing "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," claiming producers violated their copyrights by playing more than 1,000 songs without permission.

Many of the songs were played during the "dance over" segment of the show, when DeGeneres dances from the stage to the interview area, often through the audience.
According to the suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Nashville, when representatives of the recording companies asked defendants why they hadn't obtained licenses to use the songs, defendants said they didn't "roll that way."

"As sophisticated consumers of music, Defendants knew full well that, regardless of the way they rolled, under the Copyright Act, and under state law for the pre-1972 recordings, they needed a license to use the sound recordings lawfully," the suit states.

Scott Rowe, spokesman for the show's Telepictures Productions, wrote in an e-mailed statement that the company has been working with the record labels for months to resolve the issue and remains willing to resolve it on "amicable and reasonable terms."

Rowe said the issue does not involve DeGeneres, who on Wednesday was named as the fourth judge on TV's "American Idol," and whom Rowe calls "a tremendous music enthusiast and advocate."

The suit claims the daytime talk show has used copyrighted music without permission since its inception, including "recordings by virtually every major current artist of popular music." It claims the show routinely used some of the most popular songs of the day, which the record labels don't license for daytime television at any price.

Other songs cited in the lawsuit include Michael Jackson's "Thriller"; The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" and Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."
The suit calls the segment and the music played by the show's own disc jockey "signature elements of the show."

Plaintiffs include Arista Music, Atlantic Recording Corp., Capitol Records, Motown Record Company, Sony Music Entertainment, Virgin Records America and Warner Bros. Records.
The suit does not specify the dollar amount it seeks in damages.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nilekani acknowledges security and privacy concerns over the UID [India - Data Protection/Privacy]

Nandan Nilekani conceded that there are “legitimate” apprehensions over the proposed Unique Identification Number database’s being vulnerable to hacking and misuse. He said that given the inclusivity, enormous opportunity and developmental benefits it will provide, Unique Identification Database (UID) project is worth the risks.
Mr. Nilekani, the chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate program that the project had so many significant benefits for the poor in making it inclusive and in giving them a chance to participate in the country’s progress.To question on the possibility of the database being hacked, he said that they would have to design it as foolproof as possible by incorporating checks and balances. After saying “in every system, there will be people who will try to hack on it,” he asked if the security risks it involves are enough to do away with the project.
Responding to a question about the worthiness of spending an amount as huge as Rs 1.5 lakh crore in a country where 80 per cent of the population live under Rs 20 a day, Mr Nilkani rejected the estimation although he couldn’t spell out the exact amount. “Whatever the cost be, the social, economic and efficiency benefits of it would make it well worth it,” he said. The investment in this project would actually make all those other money be spent on education, health for women and children and sanitation programmes more efficiently. When asked whether the project will be helpful in solving the irregularities relating to the allotment of BPL cards as it can’t identify those who should have BPL cards and do not, replied that UID is not a panacea for all the problems but an enabler of more effective public delivery.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

WIPO and Singapore Partner in the Field of Alternative Dispute Resolution [International]

An agreement signed by Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Mr. K Shanmugam, Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs, has paved the way for the establishment of the Singapore Office of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center), which will officially open in January 2010.

Delhi HC rejects Syngenta plea on molecule registration

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition by multinational chemicals giant Syngenta challenging the government's decision to allow rival firm Crystal Phosphates to import a key insecticide and sell in India, currently exclusively sold here by the MNC.

A single-member Bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhatt dismissed Syngenta's petition, observing that the plea filed by the Swiss MNC was "speculative" in nature and the court could not intervene in the government's policy decision.

"The court is of the opinion that the litigation was speculative as the attempt was clearly to invite the court to make a policy declaration, which could not have been made under any circumstances," said Justice Bhatt, dismissing the Swiss MNC's petition.

The court also imposed a cost of Rs 3.75 lakh and directed it to pay to Crystal within four weeks.
In its petition, the Swiss firm had challenged the decision of a committee of the Ministry of Agriculture to grant the registration of insecticide molecule Emammectin Benzoate (five per cent) SG to Chrystal on a host of issues including an abridgement of its intellectual property rights.

Emammectin Benzoate is used in a number of crops, including sugarcane, cotton and wheat. Currently, only Syngenta is selling this insecticide in India.

A Syngenta spokesperson said the company may move the Supreme Court against this verdict.

Indian MDH loses to Pakistani MDH in website dispute case [WIPO]

Leading masala-maker Mahashian Di Hatti Ltd, popularly known by its brand name MDH, has lost a website address dispute case against a Pakistani firm engaged in a similar business at the World Intellectual Property Organisation.Mahashian Di Hatti had approached the Geneva-based WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center objecting the ownership of an Internet site 'mdhfoods.com' by Pakistan's MDH Food Company.
The Indian firm contended before the Center that disputed domain name is identical and confusingly similar to its MDH mark, since it incorporates the mark in its entirety and the addition of "foods" does not detract from its distinctiveness.

Bose gets its 'Wave' [United States]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board used the incorrect fraud standard in a recent ruling involving the Bose Corp.’s WAVE trademark. As a result of this ruling, the standard for fraud is now the same for both trademark and patent applications.
To prove fraud now you must show intent to deceive by clear and convincing evidence rather than merely a false representation due to an honest misunderstanding without any willful intent to deceive.
A copy of the opinion can be found at: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/opinions/08-1448.pdf