Uncover India’s Intellectual Property Evolution. Navigate the key Intellectual Property Developments in India 2023 and stay ahead with our in-depth analysis.
The year 2023 witnessed a plethora of intellectual property developments in India, with the judiciary playing a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape.
Key Intellectual Property Developments in India 2023
Casio Keisanki Kabushiki Kaisha D/B/A Casio Computer Co. Ltd. V. Riddhi Siddhi Retail Venture, CS(COMM) 537/2022
One of the notable cases involved Casio, a renowned Japanese company, alleging infringement of the design of its musical keyboard by Riddhi Siddhi Retail Venture. The court emphasized that the novelty or originality of a design must be ascertained at the time of registration.
In this instance, the lack of novelty or originality had to be proven at the time of design registration, not post-registration. The court ruled in favor of Casio, upholding the validity of its design registration and rejecting the defendant’s claims.
Hindustan Unilever Limited vs. Reckitt Benckiser (India) Private Limited, FAO(OS)(COMM) 157/2021
In a case revolving around comparative advertising for toilet cleaners, the Delhi High Court clarified that mere inferences drawn from an advertiser’s depiction of a competitor’s brand, products, or packaging can be grounds for a disparagement claim.
The court distinguished between acceptable “puffery” and actionable disparagement, emphasizing that any statement claiming the competitor’s product is inferior and the advertiser’s product is superior amounts to disparagement.
Vifor International Ltd. v. MSN Laboratories Pvt. Ltd and Anr [CS(COMM) 261/2021 I.A. 7041/2021]
The Delhi High Court conducted a thorough examination of the “product by process patent” concept, but the Division Bench suspended the Single Judge’s decision, differing on the characterization of the claims as solely “product by process” claims. This case highlights the ongoing debate and exploration of this patent concept within the Indian legal system.
Afga v. Controller [C.A.(COMM.IPD-PAT) 477/2022]
Recognizing the need for an updated “Manual of Patent Office Practice and Procedure,” the Delhi High Court emphasized the importance of providing better guidance to Examiners and Controllers in dealing with intricate matters related to complex inventions. This signals a proactive approach towards ensuring the efficiency of patent examination processes.
Allergan Inc v. The Controller of Patents [C.A. 2023/DHC/000515]
Interpreting Section 59(1), the Delhi High Court stressed that patent claims, including amended ones, must be read alongside the complete specification. This case, involving the transformation of method claims to product claims under Section 3(i), sets a precedent for allowing amendments, particularly highlighting the importance of disclosure in the original claims.
Societe Des Produits Nestle Sa v. Controller of Patents and Design [C.A. 2023/DHC/000774]
Overturning a Patent Office refusal, the Delhi High Court asserted its authority to demand patent claim amendments during appeals, citing Section 15 of the Patents Act. This ruling underscores the flexibility provided by the law for amendments at the appellate stage, provided they meet the Act’s requirements.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma Gmbh v. Vee Excel Drugs [CS (COMM) 239/2019]
In a March 29, 2023 order, the Single Judge refused injunctive relief, citing a prima facie case for the invalidity of the species patent. The court rejected the ‘coverage’ and ‘disclosure’ dichotomy, asserting that when a product is covered in the genus patent, specific disclosure in the species patent is irrelevant.
Novartis AG v. Natco Pharma Limited [C.A. 2023/DHC/000113] – Clarifying Species Patent Enforcement
In a groundbreaking decision, the Delhi High Court granted an interim injunction in favor of the patentee, Novartis AG, emphasizing the distinction between ‘coverage’ and ‘disclosure’ in species patents. This judgment has far-reaching implications for the pharmaceutical industry, providing clarity on enforcing patents related to species.
Indian Immunologicals Ltd. v. IPCA Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. – Trade Channel Distinctions
The Madras High Court’s ruling shed light on the registration of trademarks, asserting that marks can be granted registration if they operate in distinct trade channels and markets. This decision has significant implications for trademark registration, emphasizing the need for clear distinctions in trade channels.
Decco Worldwide Post Harvest Holdings B.V v. The Controller of Patents and Designs – Challenges in Categorization
The Calcutta High Court criticized the rejection of a fungicidal treatment method patent, highlighting the Controller’s lack of reasoning. This case raises questions about the proper categorization of inventions, particularly in the context of agricultural methods, contributing to the ongoing discourse on patentable subject matter.
F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. v. Drugs Controller General Of India – Extended Passing Off Doctrine
The Delhi High Court’s rejection of applications against Roche’s lawsuits emphasized the doctrine of ‘extended passing off’ in connection with expired patents. This decision provides clarity on the protection of rights even after a patent has expired, setting a precedent for future cases involving similar circumstances.
Burger King Corporation v. Ranjan Gupta & Ors. – Upholding Trademark Validity
The Delhi High Court dismissed a claim of invalidity against Burger King Corporation’s registered trademark, affirming the trademark’s validity since 1954. This decision reinforces the importance of substantial evidence when challenging the validity of established trademarks.
Microsoft v. Asst. Controller of Patents and Designs [C.A.(COMM.IPD-PAT) 29/2022] – Clarity on Software Patentability
The Delhi High Court’s ruling in the Microsoft case clarified the criteria for patentability of software-based inventions, emphasizing the enhancement of system functionality. This decision provides a framework for assessing the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, ensuring a nuanced approach.
Enconcore N.V v. Anjani Technoplast [CS(COMM) 382/2019] – Balancing Interests in Patent Infringement
The Delhi High Court’s decision in the Enconcore case addressed the complex issue of patent infringement where the patentee does not manufacture the patented product in India. The court proposed an interim arrangement, highlighting the importance of balancing the interests of both parties in patent disputes.
Guangdong Oppo Mobile v. The Controller Of Patents And Others [Aid No. 20 of 2022] – Reversal of Patent Rejection
The Calcutta High Court’s decision to overturn the rejection of Oppo’s patent application underscores the importance of a comprehensive evaluation and distinguishes between novelty and obviousness tests. This judgment provides valuable insights into the patent examination process and the criteria for patentability.
Zydus v. Dabur [CS (COMM) 304/2022] – Protection Against Unfair Advantage
The Delhi High Court’s ruling in the Zydus case emphasized the prevention of unfair advantage through the adoption of similar marks. This decision underscores the importance of protecting intellectual property rights by restraining the use of marks that may lead to confusion in the market.
Subway IP LLC v. Infinity Food [2023/DHC/000269] – Safeguarding Trademarks
The Delhi High Court’s decision in the Subway case highlighted the violation of intellectual property rights by Infinity Food, granting a permanent injunction. This ruling reinforces the significance of protecting trademarks against unauthorized use, ensuring a fair market for all stakeholders.
From patentability criteria to trademark protection, these judgments provide valuable insights into the evolving nature of IP law in the country. As businesses navigate the complex world of intellectual property, staying abreast of these developments becomes imperative for a robust and informed legal strategy.
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