This running post provides a summary of the latest Copyright cases decided by courts in India in 2022:
The Polo/Lauren Company L.P. Vs. Sandeep Arora & Anr.
The Petitioner sought removal of Respondent No. 1’s registered copyright, namely, ‘SPORTS POLO’ by way of a rectification petition under Section 50 of the Copyright Act, 1957.
The Petitioner contended that it was the registered proprietor and user of the mark ‘POLO SPORT’ since 1967 with a device mark of a ‘horse with a person riding it while flinging his club to hit a ball in the sport of polo’. The Petitioner further contended that the trademark was a well-known mark. Additionally, the Petitioner claimed that the artistic work adopted by Respondent No. 1 was an infringement of the Petitioner’s copyright and the Respondent No. 1 had also misappropriated the words ‘Polo’ and ‘Sport’.
The Respondent No. 1 contended that it was the rightful user of ‘ARRAS SPORTS POLO’ since 2020 and that its copyright was substantially different from that of the Petitioner. With respect to the logo, the Respondent claimed that it used four horses with riders on them, who were not playing the game of polo, thereby differentiating its logo from that of the Plaintiff.
The Court examined both logos and held that the artistic works in the logo of the Respondent No.1 was almost an imitation of the well-known trademarks of the Petitioner and was not an original artistic work for the purposes of registration under the Act. Additionally, it held that the Respondent No. 1 dishonestly and in bad faith, copied the Petitioner’s trademarks. Accordingly, the Court held that the Respondent No. 2 was mistaken when it provided a registration certificate. Therefore, the Court opined that the Respondent No. 1’s impugned copyright was to be expunged from the Register of Copyrights within eight weeks.
Citation: The Polo/Lauren Company L P Vs. Sandeep Arora & Anr., Decided by The Delhi High Court on 1st February, 2022, available at https://indiankanoon.org/doc/52455837/, last visited on 11th February, 2022.
Frankfinn Entertainment Company Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Unisys Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.
The Plaintiff, a subsidiary of parent company “Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training” a reputed organization, engaged in imparting training in the fields of Aviation, Hospitality, Travel Management, Customer Services, and entered the music and entertainment arena in the year 2007. Plaintiff had a YouTube Channel “Divine Amrit Bani” which was later changed to “Shabad Kirtan Gurbani- Divine Amrit Bani” managed by Defendant No. 2 M/s. Indya Records, which claimed to be the leading player in Shabad Gurbani videos and audios. The Plaintiff contended that the Defendant No. 1 unlawfully started asserting rights over the Plaintiff’s content and did not disclose the earnings from that channel. The Plaintiff, being the owner of the YouTube channel, alleged that the Defendant No. 3, Google LLC, an online video sharing platform shared the Plaintiff’s content without its prior approval. The Plaintiff submitted that sharing of the credentials of its social media account did not mean transfer of ownership, and the Defendants had no right to mala-fidely upload the Plaintiff’s content on their own channels and thus block the Plaintiff from uploading its own content on its own YouTube Channel. The High Court of Delhi granted ex-parte ad interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiff. Later the Plaintiff filed an affidavit where the Court asked the Defendant No 1 and Defendant No 3 to disclose the earnings and dismissed the charges against Defendant No 2.
Citation: Frankfinn Entertainment Company Pvt. Ltd Vs. Unisys Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. & Ors .Decided by High Court of Delhi on 2nd March, 2022, available at https://indiankanoon.org/doc/48921/, last visited 7th March, 2022.
Phonographic Performance Ltd. Vs. Union of India and Ors.
The Petitioner, Phonographic Performance Ltd., a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956, was a registered copyright society. It had assigned copyright in various sound recordings for communication to the public in the area of public performance and broadcast, through which it owned/controlled the public performance rights of more than 350 music companies with 3 million international and domestic sound recordings. It provided a single window for various parties seeking license for authorised use of sound recordings. In the year 2012, Section 33 (3A) was introduced to the Copyright Act, which required existing copyright societies to apply for a new registration post the amendment within one year. Further on 14th March 2013, the Copyright Rules were introduced through which the copyright societies applying for re-registration had to file an application in Form IX within a period of two months. The Petitioner, within one year from the enactment of the Copyright Amendment Act, 2012 and within two months from the enactment of the Copyright Rules 2013, filed an application for re-registration. The Petitioner alleged that Respondent did not take any decision on the application for over a year. After waiting for over a year, the Petitioner began conducting its business as the delay impacted its ability to conduct business and thus filed for withdrawal of the application with an intention to file a fresh application. However the request for withdrawal was rejected by the Respondent. Therefore, the Petitioner prayed for the issue of a writ of certiorari and writ of mandamus or any other direction for quashing and setting aside the impugned order and to decide the Petitioner’s application for re- registration. The Court agreed with the Petitioner’s contentions that the unreasoned order passed by Respondent 1 was completely erroneous, incorrect, unreasoned, and arbitrary and contrary to the principles of natural justice, and that the Respondent arrived at a conclusion without considering the facts and law. The High Court of Delhi held that the impugned order granted by the Respondent should be set aside and directed the Respondent to re-consider the Petitioner’s application for re-registration on merits as the application was filed within a reasonable time and the outcome of the same must be communicated the Petitioner.
Citation: Phonographic Performance Ltd. vs Union of India, decided by the High Court of Delhi on 9th March, 2022, available at: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/196307224/, visited on 14th March, 2022.
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