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An Indian search engine’s CEO Mr Anurag Dod, along with some other executives, were arrested on 29th April on charges of making available the copyrighted musical works owned by T-Series.

News reports quote the FIR (First Information Report) registered in Bangalore as stating that this is “for infringement and displaying in web site film songs of 1) Om Shanthi Om 2) All the best 3) Bhool Bhulaiya 4) Apka Suroor 5) Aashiq Banaya Apne which belong to Super Cassettes Industries Ltd Copy Right Owner Ship”.

Copyright infringement being a criminal offense, the plaintiff is at liberty to choose either civil, criminal or both these remedies.

The search engine allows users to search and play music from sites which offer free music.

This looks like another Pirates Bay case in making and this is going to go a long way to act as jurisprudence for interpretation of the IT (Amendment) Act 2010 and the way India would determine the safe harbor principles of intermediaries.


Jet Airways, after a good financial earning report, was on the business front pages last week, but there was also some patent trouble brewing in the background.

Mint (on 25th Jan) carried a report on a pre-grant opposition filed by Jet Airways against grant of a patent on herringbone seat (used in business class) by Virgin Atlantic covered by the Indian application 500/CHENP/2004 (Application number details was obtained from source here)

This opposition in India is another chapter in ongoing patent dispute which is in its final stages in the UK and EP.

The EP application had graduated into a patent EP1495908. The EP patent was opposed by Contour (along with Cathay Pacific & Airbus), but was unsuccessful; subsequently an appeal filed against the opposition decision is pending at the Board of appeal at the EPO. The file history of the EP patent can be found here along with the documents filed during the proceedings.

In the UK, the EP patent was used in an infringment suit against Contour. Virgin was unsuccessful at the first instance, where in Jan’09, Justice Lewison [2009] EWHC 26 (Pat) held Virgin’s patent valid but not infringed by Contour. Virgin appealed against this decision, and this time found luck. The Court of Appeal, on Oct’09, overturned the previous decision and ruled [2009] EWCA Civ 1062 in favor of Virgin, holding the Patent to be valid and infringed. Premier (Contour) was earlier involved in designing the seats with Virgin and had also supplied the allegedly infringing seats to other airlines including Jet Airways.

Reports on UK proceedings can be found in IPKat here and here, and detailed analysis at JIPLP here .

As a counter to the Indian opposition, and with a shot in the arm by a favorable decision in the UK, mint on 26th Jan reported that Virgin has filed an infringement suit against Jet Airways in the UK.

The pre-grant opposition to the Indian Patent application is pending at the Chennai Patent Office and is presently at hearing stage, which was postponed to February. Surprisingly, Mint states that adjournment was sought by Virgin asking for time to reply, which may not be the case, as all such reply must be filed well before entering into the hearing stage.

The main grounds of opposition raised by Jet through their attorney Mr. LaxmiKumaran is the ‘design and technology has been in the public domain’ and as per Mr. Basheer ‘can be disqualified due to lack of novelty’.

Unfortunately, we could not find the exact document(s) that were relied upon (sorry no online file history available in India!), but we hope that there is something new to those relied by Contour in EP and UK, if Jet hopes to give any worthwhile challenge to destroy the novelty, especially since the novelty requirement is the same, derived from the UK Act and the patent was already held valid (twice) by the UK courts.

Though at present the visibility seems to be low, the skies look cloudy and going tough for Jet Airways, which if unsuccessful, will incur huge loss (money and time), and subsequent patent infringement suits if Virgin is successful in obtaining a patent in India.

With two big players in the ring with lot at stake (including pride), whatever the outcome, it is sure to be appealed and also with infringement suit also on cards, this case looks like one which will not die down anytime soon. We just hope that at the end of it all, we are left with some good jurisprudence to rely upon.

In a landmark Judgment which could change the landscape of Patent litigation in India, the Supreme Court has pronounced the judgment on the Bajaj v. TVS’s appeal on injunction today (16th Sept).  Copy of the Supreme court judgment on Bajaj v. TVS’s appeal can be downloaded (Bajaj V TVS SC )here

The bench consisting of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice AK Ganguly judged that

1. The matter is to be disposed on merits at the Chennai HC, with directions to complete the full trial and pronounce orders latest by 30th November 2009.

2. TVS has been allowed to sell its bikes with Twin Spark Plugs, with a Court Receiver being appointed to maintain books of Profit.

3. Issues directive for lower courts for IP litigation.

For background understanding of our readers, below is a synopsis of the facts of the case

  • In  Dec 2007 Bajaj claimed TVS had infringed the Patent and filed an infringement suit at Chennai HC against TVS.  Single Judge of the Madras HC issued a temporary injunction  on 16th February, 2008 of the Manufacture and sale of TVS Bikes with alleged infringed twin spark plug.
  • TVS appealed against this decision at the Division Bench of the Chennai HC against the injunction and the Division Bench Madras HC on 18 May, 2009 had decided prima facie that there was no infringement by TVS and allowed TVS to manufacture and sell the bikes.
  • Bajaj then appealed at the Supreme Court against the Madras Division bench decision and the Supreme Court issued an interim order (dt 08th June, 2009) allowing TVS to manufacture but restrained it from selling till the final order is passed.
  • Today’s judgment is the final order passed by the  Supreme court on the appeal on injunction.

The prime importance  that comes out from this judgment  is the direction issued by the SC in relation to the infringement cases handled in the country.

Disapponted that the matter in the Madras HC has been pending for more than 2 years, the Apex court sets guidelines for IP litigation.

In Page  3- 4 of the judgment (enclosed), the bench had cited a case of M/s. Shree Vardhman Rice & Gen Mills vs. M/s Amar Singh Chawalwala  (No.21594 of 2009 decided on 07th September, 2009) where the court noted that :

“…Without going into the merits of the controversy, we are of the opinion that the matters relating to trademarks, copyrights and patents should be finally decided very expeditiously by the Trial Court instead of merely granting or refusing to grant injunction. Experience shows that in the matters of trademarks, copyrights and patents, litigation is mainly fought between the parties about the temporary injunction and that goes on for years and years and the result is that the suit is hardly decided finally. This is not proper.

Proviso (a) to Order XVII Rule 1(2)C.P.C. states that when the hearing of the suit has commenced, it shall be continued from day-to-day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless the Court finds that, for exceptional reasons to be recorded by it the adjournment of the hearing beyond the following day is necessary. The Court should also observe clauses (b) to (e) of the said proviso.

In our opinion, in matters relating to trademarks, copyright and patents the proviso to Order XVII Rule 1(2) C.P.C. should be strictly complied with by all the Courts, and the hearing of the suit in such matters should proceed on day to day basis and the final judgment should be given normally within four months from the date of the filing of the suit.” (Emphasis Added)

The SC reiterated this stance in today’s judgment  (Pg 4) and observed that

“As has been observed by us in the aforesaid case, experience has shown that in our country, suits relating to the matters of patents, trademarks and copyrights are pending for years and years and litigation is mainly fought between the parties about the temporary injunction. This is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs, and hence we had passed the above quoted order in the above-mentioned case to serve the ends of justice. We direct that the directions in the aforesaid order be carried out by all courts and tribunals in this country punctually and faithfully(Emphasis Added)

This is a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court and would form basis of litigating other Intellectual Property Rights related cases in India. The Trial court is supposed to give the judgment on merits within 4 months and the matters must proceed on day to day basis.

If followed, this will drastically change the working of Indian courts in Intellectual Property litigation scene and be a positive step towards a strong Intellectual Property enforcement regime in India.

Further to Justice Katju recusing himself from hearing the Novartis Glivec appeal, the Special Leave Petition (SLP) was listed today (11 September) before the Bench consisting of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Dr. Justice. B.S. Chauhan.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Bhandari issued notices to Centre and all the other parties involved and sought their replies. The respondents include the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Controller General of Patent and Design (CGPDTM), the NGO Cancer Patient Aid Association Centre and Pharma companies Natco Pharma, Cipla, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Hetero Drugs.

This SLP is an appeal against the IPAB decision which upheld the Chennai Patent Office decision to refuse the Novartis’ patent application for its cancer drug Gleevec based on Sections 3(d) and 3(b) of the Indian Patent Law.

For those interested in the appeal, a copy of the Special Leave Petition filed by Novartis at the Supreme Court in the Glivec case is available here from the IP Watch website.

Read more from Times Of India here

A federal jury in California has held two Web hosting companies and their owner liable for contributory trademark and copyright infringement for hosting sites that sold counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods and not acting even after Louis Vuitton had sent numerous notices to the Web hosting company.

In a decision last week, the jury awarded damages totaling more than $32 million against hosting companies Akanoc Solutions Inc., Managed Solutions Group Inc their owner Steven Chen for knowingly allowed several Web sites they hosted to sell products that infringed Louis Vuitton’s copyrights and trademarks.

The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DCMA) protects ISP from contributory infringements if they can prove that they do not have actual knowledge of the infringement and upon obtaining such knowledge acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material  and does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity. In this instance however the Web hosts had been informed of the activity by Louis Vuitton but still refused to implement a policy for removing the offending sites, which was their responsibility.

This is said to be the first successful application on the Internet on contributory liability for trademark infringement.

Though this looks like a clear case of non compliance on the part of the web hosts, in reality, it would be difficult for web hosts to scrutinize between valid complains before acting upon it, as it is no legal expert to scrutinize trademark infringements and cannot pull the plug off its customers without being 100% sure.

Microsoft’s appeal, against the last month’s decision imposed by the U.S. District Court in I4i v. Microsoft Corp patent infringement case, has been successful in staying the district court order on its Word program.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington) put on hold the order imposed by the district court until the final hearing in the appeal proceedings. The last month’s decision by the District court had found Microsoft infringing patents relating to customizing XML, a way of encoding data to exchange information among programs and ordered the world’s biggest software maker to alter its Word Software program by 10th Oct or halt its sales in addition to a $200 mn fine.

Oral arguments on the appeal are scheduled for Sept. 23 in Washington.

The Supreme court Bench headed by Justice Markandaya Katju which was supposed to hear the Novartis appeal on Monday (31/8), recused itself from hearing the case noting that it may not be proper for him to sit in on this case.

Justice Katju is said be a supporter of making a balance between the need to give monetary inducements to new inventions, and making available these inventions to the broad masses in the underdeveloped countries at affordable prices. Read Shamnad in his blog spicyIP here.

We note that this was a very decent move made by the H’ble judge. Rather than giving a biased judgment being influenced by personal opinion, it was better that he recused himself from the case which involve such important issues and also being intensely followed by many around the world.

The Supreme Court has posted September 15th as the date for final disposal of the Bajaj Auto v. TVS Motors patent infringement case on the twin-spark plugs technology. The bench on Monday (31/8) continued the earlier interim order of June 8 allowing TVS Motor to manufacture TVS Flame, the alleged infringed product, having the claimed twin-spark plugs technology for which Bajaj Auto claims it holds the patent rights.

Bajaj’s petition at the Supreme Court against the Madras High court order allowing TVS to use the twin spark technology resulted in the June 2009 interim order, where the SC asked TVS to make an undertaking stating that it would only manufacture the product but refrain from moving its “finished product (motorcycle) from its warehouse” and ordered both parties to restrained from using the said order for any other purposes including publicity.

The Supreme Court, on Friday, dismissed the special leave petition (SPL) by Roche, challenging the division bench order of the Delhi High Court. The division bench had earlier in April 2009, upheld the order refusing the injunction which issued by a single judge of the Delhi High court, and even awarded costs for suppression of facts in a poorly reasoned judgment.

Noting that it was already 4 months since the division bench order of April and the final hearing on merit of the infringement case (Roche vs Cipla) has already commenced at the Delhi High court, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition and ordered that the ongoing trial at the Delhi High Court be expedited. The SC further went on to note that nothing in the Delhi division bench order would bind the trial court judge.

Read the mint report on this matter here and the analysis by Shamnad in his blog Spicyip here. Spicyip has been covering this matter for a while now read here.

Novartis has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court (India’s Highest Court) challenging the refusal of its patent application for its blood cancer drug Glivec by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB- India’s IP tribunal).

The IPAB in its decision in July had rejected Novartis’s appeal against refusal of its Patent Application for its drug Glivec by the Indian Patent Office (Chennai) back in January 2006 on grounds that the application was not patentable under Section 3(b) (Public order, since the drug was high priced) and 3(d) (failing to give a significantly enhanced efficacy) of the Indian Patent Act.

Read more on Mint, Hindu, Times of India reports on this. SpicyIP has been covering this matter from day one, read them here