This time last week on Sinapse, here is all that happened, in a nutshell.
On October 13, 2014, we saw:
Invention that revolutionized the industrial revolution!
…The story of the invention of steam engine, this invention that proved to be a huge development in the industrial revolution, enlightened us that James Watt may not have been the first one to invent it but definitely was the first one to patent it!
Finally, the ice melts between Microsoft and Samsung!
…Samsung and Microsoft signed a cross license agreement for the benefit of both. When Samsung learnt about Microsoft taking over Nokia, a rift was triggered between Samsung and Microsoft.
Patenting – the Google way
…Google has always amused consumers with its mind blowing inventions. It now has numerous patents under its name and that doesn’t stop them there. Google is dipping its hand into the automotive industry! Google is now the 4th in line for holding the most number of patents.
Here is an update on a recent Trademark Infringement case. Shoemaker, Converse, is suing big names including Wal-Mart and Ralph Lauren for allegedly selling imitations of its 100-year-old famous Chuck Taylor Sneakers. Converse is claiming, under its registered trademark rights, the distinctive shoe design, a design that has been called an “American Icon”. Key elements protected by Converse’s trademark include the toe cap of the shoe, and the pattern of black stripes that appear on the mid sole of the shoe. Converse claims that these elements have been ripped off by the companies they are now suing.
Apart from suing these companies for infringement, Converse, a subsidiary of Nike, also wants the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban sales of the imported replicas. Therefore, Converse has filed a separate complaint with ITC, with the aim of preventing shoes that infringe their trademark from being imported into USA.
After Narendra Modi met with US President, Barack Obama last month, during Modi’s visit to the US, the leaders released a joint statement enumerating areas for bilateral collaboration including Intellectual Property.
A look at the current state of IP laws in India will show that -
India’s current IP laws are very real disincentives unduly limiting its capacity to commercialize new inventions and enjoy access to innovations from other parts of the world.
What kind of change in the IP laws could help both countries?
Both Governments have committed to establishing an annual IP Working Group as a core element of the bilateral trade policy forum. The US industry widely welcomed this statement, since a bilateral dialogue on IP will be an important part of optimizing the US-India trade relationship.
In the final part of this series, we shall conclude the discussion on descriptive marks with an examination of the Indian position on the protection of these marks. Section 9 of the Trademark Act, 1999 which lays down absolute grounds for refusal of registration of trademarks, clearly states that trademarks which consist exclusively of marks or indications, which may serve in trade to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, values, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or rendering of the service or other characteristics of the goods or service shall not be registered. This provision applies to marks that are both descriptive and non-distinctive in relation to the goods or services for which protection is sought. While analyzing a mark, one has to look at the word, not in its strict grammatical significance, but as it would represent itself to the public at large who are to look at it and form an opinion of what it connotes, as observed in Keystone Knitting Mills Ltd.’s TM [(1928) 45 RPC 193].
The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks published comments received from the stakeholders on the ‘Revised draft guidelines for examination of patent applications in the field of Pharmaceuticals’ on September 11, 2014. The last date for submitting any responses or suggestions was September 5, 2014. A total of 33 comments were received by the Patent Office including from patent access groups, health care, industry lobbies, law firms etc. from across the world.
Though the revised draft guidelines drew a mixed response, many of the international organizations raised the concern of discriminating pharmaceutical patenting from other fields of technology, which could in turn discourage innovation. The comments from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and US-India Business Council (USIBC) highlighted that when the draft guidelines recognize good patents essential for promoting innovation and technological development in the country and quality, consistency and uniformity of examination and grant of patents as the top priorities, it is to be noted that these apply to all fields of technology and not only to the pharmaceutical field.