In this week’s update on patents – Supreme Court restores its order on extension of limitation periods; Delhi High Court restrains HFCL in a patent infringement suit by Sterlite Technologies; Natco Pharma obtains patent license from Medicines Patent Pool for manufacture of Molnupiravir; Ericsson files lawsuit against Apple for 5G patent infringement; IP laws in Singapore likely to undergo amendment after IP Amendment Bill proposed in Parliament.

India related patent updates

Supreme Court restores its order on extension of limitation periods

The Supreme Court on 10th January restored its order of 23rd March 2020, In Re Cognizance for Extension of Limitation, extending the period(s) of limitation provided under any general or special laws until the 28th of February 2022.

The order which was originally issued on 23rd March 2020, had directed that “the period(s) of limitation, as prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, whether condonable or not, shall stand extended till further order”. On 8th March 2021 however, the Supreme Court ended the extension of limitation with effect from 14th March 2021, citing improved situation. Thereafter, with the advent of the second wave, the Supreme Court restored the order on 27th April 2021 and ended such extension on 29th September 2021.

In view of the unprecedented spike in the number of COVID cases and the dire situation prevailing across the country, the Supreme Court has now in its latest order observed –

“The order dated 23.03.2020 is restored and in continuation of the subsequent orders dated 08.03.2021, 27.04.2021 and 23.09.2021, it is directed that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall stand excluded for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi- judicial proceedings”.

In cases where the limitation would have expired during the   period   between   15.03.2020   till   28.02.2022, notwithstanding   the   actual   balance   period   of   limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from   01.03.2022.  In   the  event   the   actual  balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 01.03.2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.

Delhi High Court restrains HFCL in a patent infringement suit by Sterlite Technologies

The Delhi High Court on 12th January 2022 has reportedly granted an ex-parte ad-interim injunction to Sterlite Technologies Ltd. against HCFL, restraining the latter from manufacturing and selling an optical fibre cable variant which is allegedly protected by the former’s patent. HCFL has in a statement release on Saturday refuted Sterlite’s claims has stated that it has already requested the Delhi High Court to vacate the order and will protect the company’s interests “against such future claims arising from misleading information”.

Philips and Vivo Mobile enter Standard Essential Patent Battle

Koninklijke Philips N.V. has filed a suit against Vivo Mobile seeking a permanent injunction restraining the latter from making and selling products that infringed on their Standard Essential Patents. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant has infringed on five Standard Essential Patents that pertain to the following technologies – i) Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) technology (sometimes also referred to as 3G or WCDMA), (ii) High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology, (iii) Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) technology and, (iv) Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

 Through the application, Philips sought discovery by interrogatories and production of certain documents from Vivo Mobile. However, Vivo Mobile claimed that their chipsets were made by Qualcomm and Media Tek and neither of those parties were included in the suit.

 Judge Asha Menon, in her ruling, allowed the application and ordered Vivo Mobile to deliver the affidavit along with the third-party agreements signed between them and Qualcomm and Media Tek.

International patent updates

Ericsson files lawsuit against Apple for 5G patent infringement

After failing to agree upon a royalty, Ericsson has filed new lawsuits against Apple for usage of its 5G patents in iPhones. Previously, both companies had engaged in negotiations over a seven-year licensing contract which failed, leading to a legal battle in the United States. Apple, having acquired Intel’s smartphone modem business, claims that it holds a share of the declared 5G patents and therefore is entitled to a lower rate in royalty payment. Ericsson has quoted an amount of $5 per phone in royalties for their licensing agreements but the same has not been accepted by Apple, leading to the current dispute. Similar cases have been filed by Ericsson in Düsseldorf, Mannheim, Munich, Brazil and the Netherlands. In light of these suits brought by Ericsson, Apple has requested for a U.S. import ban against Ericsson’s mobile patents through an ITC filing.

Google Ads did not infringe on PSET’s patent, says Federal Court of Canada

 In a lawsuit spanning nearly four years, the Federal Court of Canada finally ended the PSET v. Google dispute involving Google Ads. The Federal Court in a eighty-nine page decision ruled that Google Ads did not infringe on PSET’s patent, whose asserted patent claims were held to be invalid on various grounds.

 The patent in question owned by Paid Search Engine Tools, LLC (PSET) was Patent No. 2,415,167 (167 Patent) titled “Paid Search Engine Bid Management” for an invention described as “management of advertising expenses in online media”.

Natco Pharma and Medicines Patent Pool, Switzerland sign licensing agreement

Natco Pharma Limited announced on 20th January 2022 that it has signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, Switzerland. Through this agreement, Natco Pharma Limited can make and sell Molnupiravir Capsules 200 milligrams under the name “Molnunat” in the Indian market.

Authored and Compiled by Chanda S & Vivek Basanagoudar

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