France secures ownership over ‘France.com’ domain, Britannia and ITC lock horns, and more brought to you by the Trademark Attorneys at BananaIP (BIP) Counsel
INDIAN TRADEMARK UPDATES
Delhi High Court denies Britannia’s injunction against Sunfeast
The Delhi High Court recently denied Britannia’s plea to pass an injunction against ITC’s ‘Sunfeast’ brand of biscuits. Britannia claimed that the packaging of ITC’s Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive Biscuit was deceptively similar to that of their NutriChoice Digestive Biscuits and that ITC were passing off on Britannia’s existing goodwill and reputation. The Court in this instance held that an “unwary purchaser of average intelligence and imperfect recollection” was unlikely to be confused between the packaging of the two biscuit brands. The Single Judge Bench, while dismissing Britannia’s plea, held that although there were a few similarities in the packaging, the dissimilarities between the packaging of the biscuits were even more glaring , and further observed that “The average human mind has not been particularly conditioned to observe only similarities, and overlook dissimilarities.”
INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK UPDATES
Activision Sues Warzone.com
Activision, one of the world’s largest video game producers, and owner of the infamous ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ series of console games, has recently instituted a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Central District of California, against web-based game provider Warzone.com LLC. As per Activision’s complaint, Warzone.com LLC, which owns and operates a web-based strategy game also called ‘Warzone’ on www.warzone.com, had issued a cease and desist notice, as well as notices of opposition against Activision’s US Trademark applications for the terms ‘Warzone’ and ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’, threatening to seek “massive damages” from Activision. The video game giant, through the instant lawsuit, is seeking a declaration from the court that its trademark applications are not infringing upon Warzone.com LLC’s rights in any way. Activision has stated that owing to the completely different nature of the two games, with Activision’s Warzone being played on gaming consoles, and the other being a digitized board game available on a website, there was no chance of confusion among the public.
Nike Faces Legal Battle with US Postal Service
After a recent settlement with streetwear brand MSCHF over possible trademark infringement claims, sportswear giant Nike now finds itself as a possible target in a trademark infringement suit from the United States Postal Services (“USPS”). The dispute arose with Nike releasing a concept art of an experimental Air Force 1 sneaker, the design of which is inspired by fonts and imagery used on the USPS’s Priority Mail shipping boxes. The USPS subsequently released a statement that the designs were not licensed or otherwise authorized to Nike, and that Nike was leveraging the USPS’s designs for its own gain, with no income or royalties from the same accruing to the USPS. The Postal Service further claimed that Nike has been unresponsive in its attempts to arrive at a solution, and that it would take whatever actions it deems necessary to protect its valuable intellectual property rights.
BRAND LICENSING UPDATES
Gucci and Balenciaga Team Up for a New Collection
Gucci and Balenciaga, two of the largest luxury fashion houses have teamed up for the very first time to launch their new collection ‘Aria’, in celebration of Gucci’s 100th anniversary. The Aria collection was virtually unveiled worldwide through a short film released on a multitude of platforms online . This is Gucci’s first collection after it vowed to deviate from the regular fashion calendar to reduce its ecological footprint.
Sony Pictures Entertainment Set to Launch Themed Water Park in Thailand
Sony Pictures, in association with Thailand’s largest water park ‘Amazon Falls’, are set to launch their much-awaited theme park ‘Columbia Pictures Aquaverse’ in October 2021. The water park will be situated close to Bangkok and is rumoured to feature attractions based on several of Sony Pictures’ blockbuster hits like Jumanji, Hotel Transylvania, Bad Boys, Men In Black, and many others. This is Sony Pictures first ever theme park and it aims to provide customers an immersive experience, through live entertainment, interactive props and sets from famous movies, themed restaurants, and retail locations selling a variety of licensed merchandise.
DOMAIN NAME DISPUTE UPDATES
France Secures ‘France.com’ Domain
In a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the French government was awarded ownership over the domain ‘France.com’. The previous owner of the domain, Jean-Noel Frydman, had registered France.com in 1994, and had been using the website for promoting tourism in France, and had also registered several trademarks for ‘France.com’ and his company, France.com, Inc. The French government, through previous litigation in the courts of Paris, had already acquired possession over the France.com domain. Frydman had filed the present suit in the United States Court of Appeals, seeking to assert his trademark rights over the term ‘France.com’ against the French government. The suit was however, dismissed, as the French government had sovereign immunity against such cases in the United States.
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION UPDATES
Himachal Pradesh’s Salooni Maize eyes GI Tag
Himachal Pradesh is preparing to obtain a Geographical Indication (“GI”) Tag for white maize grown in the Salooni district of the State. The application for the GI Tag was forwarded by the Salooni Safed Makka Sangathan, for three varieties of the white maize that are unique to Salooni. This specific strain of maize is high in protein content and resistant to a wide variety of diseases.
Authored and compiled by Uma T.S, Shreya Chaddha & Varun Gopalakrishnan
About BananaIP Counsels Trademark Attorneys
The Trademark News Bulletin is brought to you by the Trademark/Copyright, IP Transactional Strategy Divisions of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. Led by Sanjeeth Hegde, BananaIP Counsels’ trademark attorneys are among the leading experts in the field. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: Trademark News.
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