PhonePe fails to secure temporary injunction against BharatPe, Tamil Nadu’s Matti Banana sought for GI Tagging and more brought to you by the Trademark Attorneys at BananaIP (BIP) Counsel
INDIAN TRADEMARK UPDATES
Delhi High Court Denies PhonePe’s Injunction Against BharatPe
UPI and bank payment company, PhonePe, had recently filed an application before the Delhi High Court, seeking an interim injunction against its competitor BharatPe’s usage of the term ‘Pe’ as a suffix in its trademark. PhonePe claimed that by using the term ‘Pe’ in its suffix, BharatPe had infringed their trademarks and were attempting to free-ride on PhonePe’s goodwill. The Delhi High Court, however, dismissed PhonePe’s plea, holding that the term ‘Pe’ was not a distinctive character of the mark, and the usage of the same by BharatPe was not sufficient enough to cause confusion in the minds of the consumers. The Court further observed that the marks were completely different as the words ‘Phone’ and ‘Bharat’ were not even phonetically similar. The Court in this instance upheld the well-established principle that ‘exclusivity can only be claimed on the entire mark and not parts thereof.’
Citation: PhonePe Private Limited v. EZY Services & Anr. [IA 8084/2019 in CS(COMM) 292/2019]
INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK UPDATES
Blizzard Entertainment Opposes Fox’s ‘Diablo’ Trademark
Internationally renowned video game developer, Blizzard Entertainment, has recently filed a notice of opposition before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) against Fox Media’s trademark application for the mark ‘Diablo’. Fox Media had filed the application in relation to a character named ‘Diablo’ on its new television show ‘HouseBroken’. Blizzard Entertainment, whose video game series ‘Diablo’ was launched in 1997, also owns the trademarks ‘Diablo II’, and ‘Diablo III’ for the subsequent editions of the game. In its opposition, Blizzard has claimed, that Fox’s application for the mark ‘Diablo’ is contrary to federal trademark law, as it would cause confusion and would deceive consumers.
Wrigley Cracks Down on THC-Infused Skittles
World-famous confectionary company, Wrigley, has recently instituted a suit before the United States District Court for the Central District of California, against several websites, alleging infringement of its trademark rights. Wrigley, which owns the ‘Skittles’, ‘Starburst’ and ‘Life Savers’ brands of candy has alleged trademark infringement by several websites, including www.2020ediblez.com, www.ie420supply.com, and www.oc420collection.com among others, who were selling THC and cannabis infused products such as ‘Medicated Skittles’, ‘Starburst Gummies’ and ‘Life Savers Medicated Gummies’. Wrigley has alleged that the sale of these products, which nearly-identically resemble those of Wrigley’s, infringes upon its trademark rights, and might also pose a danger to consumers who may inadvertently consume the same, believing them to originate from the confectionary giant.
BRAND LICENSING UPDATES
Virgin Media Partners with Southampton FC Academy
Virgin Media has recently announced its latest campaign, the Virgin Media Football Academy, in association with English football club Southampton FC, to launch a series of training videos and live sessions for students and teachers alike. The aim of the campaign is to help teachers and pupils to restart physical education after the prolonged school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sessions will concentrate on football skills as well as nutrition and mental wellbeing, delivered by professional coaches and players from Southampton FC’s Academy.
TCG Entertainment Secures Deal for Ella Fitzgerald Concert Experience
Evolution USA, the global licensing and brand management agency of the legendary American jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald, has linked up with TCG Entertainment to carry the iconic singer’s music to global audiences with a live symphony orchestra. The shows, which will be produced by TCG Entertainment, are set to launch in 2022, where the audience will be able to enjoy the never seen before music, along with the star’s greatest hits, licensed from Evolution USA. The concerts will be performed all over the United States before moving to international audiences.
DOMAIN NAME DISPUTE UPDATES
Mall Operator Attempts Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
Real-estate giant, Majid Al Futtaim Properties Llc, the operator of a chain of shopping malls in the Middle East called ‘City Centre’, recently instituted a cybersquatting dispute before the World Intellectual Property Organisation (“WIPO”), against the domain name www.CityCentre.com. The Panel constituted by WIPO under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Mechanism (“UDRP”), however, observed that the owner of the disputed domain, Domain-It, had acquired the rights over www.CityCentre.com in 2001 itself. The Panel further held that the expression ‘City Centre’ was a descriptive term, and had no specific connection with Majid Al Futtaim Properties. Therefore, the complaint was disposed of, and the Panel found Majid Al Futtaim Properties guilty of attempting reverse domain name hijacking.
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION UPDATES
Tamil Nadu Seeks GI Tag for Matti Banana
The Kanniyakumari Banana and Horticulture Farmers Producer Company Limited, has recently filed an application for GI Tagging of the Matti Banana, endemic to the Matti region of Tamil Nadu. The application has been facilitated by the MSME Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre, as well as NABARD’s Madurai Agri Business Incubation Forum. The Matti Banana has been used for a prolonged period of time as baby food, and is also said to possess medicinal properties. The application claims that the tribes of the Western Ghats have even used the Matti banana to cure diseases such as jaundice.
Authored and compiled by Uma T.S, Shreya Chaddha & Varun Gopalakrishnan
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