Govt to Make E-commerce Guidelines Mandatory, Govt Relaxes FDI Norms for Single-Brand Retail, Ali Express Opens Brick and Mortar Store in Spain, Flipkart Inks Management Deal with Nautica, Google Launches Video Game Streaming Service, Hasbro to Acquire EOne for USD 4 Billion, Disney’s Aladdin and Lion King Video Games to be Upgraded, and more.
E-Commerce Law News
Govt to Make E-commerce Guidelines Mandatory
Ram Vilas Paswan, the minister for consumer affairs, has recently confirmed that in order to protect the interest of the consumers, the new Draft Guidelines for e-Commerce firms will be made mandatory under the new Consumer Protection Act and stringent action against violators will be taken by a regulatory authority.
The Draft Guidelines will be made mandatory by being included as part of the rules under the Consumer Protection Act. According to the Draft Guidelines, each company is required to submit a self-declaration to the ministry stating that it conforms with the guidelines.
The new guidelines have also taken consumer privacy into consideration, by mandating e-commerce companies “to ensure that personally identifiable information of customers is protected and should not directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services, thereby maintaining a level playing field”. Additionally, a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will be established, which will promote, protect and enforce consumer rights under the new law and will take necessary action against violating e-commerce firms.
Govt Relaxes FDI Norms for Single-Brand Retail
The Union Government has relaxed the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms for Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT). As per the new norms, “all procurements made from India by the SBRT entity for that single brand shall be counted towards local sourcing, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported, with a view to provide greater flexibility and ease of operations to SBRT entities”.
Some of the other revised norms include the removal of the current cap of 5 years for exports and minimum requirement of 30% local procurement for SRBT entities with more than 51% FDI. Entities have been allowed to meet local sourcing requirements as an average during the first 5 years, and thereafter annually towards their India operations.
Under the previous policies, SBRT entities had to first operate through brick and mortar stores and only then would they be allowed to start retailing that brand through e-commerce. However, this rule is no longer applicable, and presently SBRT entities can directly start retailing the brand through online trade, provided that the entity opens brick and mortar stores within 2 years from date of start of online retail.
In response to this change, Apple has announced that it will resume online sales of its products in India directly. The earlier rules had created hurdles for Apple and several other electronics brands, since most of their devices were manufactured in China. However, these brands had been selling their products in India through partnerships with physical and online retail stores, including Amazon and Flipkart.
Amid the ongoing trade troubles between US and China, the easing of FDI rules by the Indian government may provide an impetus to Apple, by opening new retail avenues and increasing its sales in India, thus reducing its dependence on the Chinese market.
Ali Express Opens Brick and Mortar Store in Spain
Ali Express, the Chinese online retail service, has entered the European market by opening its first European brick and mortar store in Madrid, Spain. Spain is the fourth largest market for Ali Express by both volume and value, after China, the US and Russia.
The Madrid store, which displays about 1,000 products from over 60 brands, will allow consumers to see, feel and try products. However, the store does not allow purchases, thus requiring consumers to order products online from the Ali Express platform.
Ali Express established its presence in Europe by partnering with affiliate sellers, and offering popular products at bargain prices. The affiliate program allowed Ali Express to operate as an online marketplace, where sellers could sell through the portal and delivery network in exchange for paying a fee and sharing sales data. Through the retail store, Ali Express may be looking to introduce itself to new customers and learn more about their shopping patterns.
IP Transactions and Licensing News
Flipkart Inks Management Deal with Nautica
Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce company, has signed a deal to manage the global lifestyle brand Nautica. The e-commerce company has joined hands with Authentic Brands Group, which is the company that grants Flipkart the licensing rights to manage Nautica’s online and offline business through a network of franchise partners.
This partnership will help strengthen the brand in India by growing its customer base in the country. Nautica will be the first global brand of this scale and size to be managed by Flipkart. Customers will get to experience facilities like Endless Aisle, a technology solution that allows shoppers to virtually browse additional product offerings and self-checkout capabilities for convenience to Nautica stores.
Google Launches Video Game Streaming Service
Google is now set to introduce a video game streaming service, which is a first of its kind for the tech giant. Google Stadia, the cloud-based gaming platform will be launched later this year in November, in 14 countries.
Through this gaming service the gamers will be able to play AAA games at the maximum graphical settings on virtually any screen, including a TV, PC, laptop, phone or tablet and will not be required to buy the latest and greatest processor, graphics card or console. Major publishers, including Ubisoft, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive Software and Warner Bros., are already a part of this service.
The game streaming service will help the gamers to completely bypass the process of downloading titles with Stadia, streaming them in a similar way to streaming films on Netflix.
Hasbro to Acquire EOne for USD 4 Billion
Hasbro, the American toy company, will soon be acquiring Entertainment One, the multinational mass media company. This acquisition will give Hasbro ownership over eOne’s several per-school brands which are extremely popular and successful, thus expanding its IP portfolio.
Some of the preschool animation properties currently owned by eOne include “P.J. Masks,” “Peppa Pig” and “Cupcake & Dino.”
The American toy company will be able to cater to a larger audience comprising of different age groups due to the wide variety of content owned by eOne.
Disney’s Aladdin and Lion King Video Games to be Upgraded
After being launched more than two decades ago, the Lion King and Aladdin video games will finally get an upgrade to be compatible with the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 systems, and Xbox One from October of this year.
The games have been improved and now include high definition features, with the Aladdin video game featuring a brand new “final cut” and an original “tradeshow demo” that was last available in 1993. Some of the additional content in the new version includes an explorable museum where users can learn some of the history behind the 16-bit games.
The latest version of these games will be available to pre-order and will retail for USD 29.99.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar and Ashwini Arun (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
The eCommerce Law and IP Transactions News Bulletin is brought to you by the eCommerce Law and Consulting/Strategy Division of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: eCommerce Law News.
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down.