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Copycats beware! Amul now has trademark protection

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VIRENDRA PANDIT 

AHMEDABAD, AUG 12:

 

 

It all began as the small Anand Milk Union Ltd (AMUL) in 1946. With the great visionary, the late Dr Varghese Kurien, it later turned into a dairy products’ brand owned by the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd. With further expansion, eventually, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) began marketing the Amul brand of dairy products.

In 2014-15, the Amul turnover was nearly Rs. 21,700 crore. It currently procures and processes 148.5 crore litres of milk from 18,536 village milk cooperative societies. The Amul products are exported to over 50 countries. It owns 60 dairies across India, with more in the offing.

With its pan-India popularity, therefore, many non-dairy products—ranging from hosiery to tractors—copied the “Amul” name to cash in on its brand-recall value.

No longer would “The Taste of India” sour, however.

With the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) recently ruling in its favour, no one else would be allowed to cash in on the Amul popularity for any products whatsoever.

“Products like Amul tractors (manufactured by a Rajkot-based firm) or Amul hosiery (made by a Mumbai-based company) will not be able to copy the logos and fonts of Amul,” Rs. Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF, told BusinessLine.

Last week, the Controller-General of Patents Design & Trademarks, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in a notification, approved and categorised Amul as a “well-known brand” in a list of 68 brands. “The IPAB has emphasised Amul as a well-known trademark," DIPP said.

Sodhi said this virtually accords Amul, the top Indian trademark in dairy products, the status of a global patent. “Many were trying to get their products registered with the Amul name. Every time we had to move the courts to protect our original Amul brand. “

He said, as a global brand, the Amul name, its fonts and other brand-related specifics have become intellectual property of GCMMF and no one would be able to copy it. “No one in the world will be able to launch any product with Amul name without our consent.”

In India, nearly 70 brands come in this category of “well-known brands”—most of these are from overseas, ranging from 7’O Clock shaving razors manufactured by Gillette UK Ltd to Pepsi to BBC; India’s own “well-known brands” in the list include Nirma, Rajnigandha, Bisleri etc. Amul has been added, recently, at number 66 in this list.

“With less litigation now, there will be no dilution of our brand image. Millions of loyal customers will also benefit as no one will be able to dupe them. No one would now be able to use the Amul name either for any other products.”

Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/amul-gets-trademark-approval/article7530006.ece

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BMW looks at whether Google's 'Alphabet' infringes trademark rights

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BMW on Tuesday said it was looking into whether Google infringed any trademark rights after the Silicon Valley-based group set up a new company called Alphabet, which is also the name of a BMW subsidiary.

"We are examining whether there are any implications over trademarks," a BMW spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The spokeswoman said there were currently no plans to take legal steps against Google. BMW's Alphabet, which provides services to companies with vehicle fleets, operates in 18 countries and supplies 530,000 vehicles to corporate customers. Google was not immediately available for comment.

A legal dispute is unlikely since Google made clear in its announcement on Monday that in creating a parent company called Alphabet Inc, it was not intending to build products and brands under that name. Google has picked a name that is also a fairly common brand among American businesses. There are currently 103 trademark registrations in the United States that include the word "alphabet" or some close variation, according to a database search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

To prove a trademark infringement, a trademark owner would have to show that the new Alphabet created a "likelihood of confusion" among consumers between the two brands. This could occur if both brands offered similar goods and services.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/bmw-looks-at-whether-googles-alphabet-infringes-trademark-rights/article7529535.ece

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Protecting IPR regime will bring new medicines

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       Ranjana Smetacek | Updated: Aug 13, 2015 02:09 IST

It is short-sighted to view patents as blocking access to life-saving drugs, or to see patented medicines and generic drugs as mutually exclusive. The latter exist because someone invested in research and innovation to invent the former. A robust intellectual property rights (IPR) framework promotes the development of new medicines and encourages investment in innovation.

Innovative medicines offer great hope to patients, but developing new treatments and cures is a long, costly, and complex process. Life-saving drugs are necessary for combating life-threatening diseases, but patients also need new drugs and solutions for changing disease profiles. There are still huge unmet medical needs and therapeutic areas that need to be addressed with innovation-driven cures. We need to continue research in cancer, diabetes and mental illnesses. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dengue still have no cure.

Clearly, there must be access to medicines for everybody but, equally, if there isn’t a return on investment, how will innovators justify investing in new medicines? India needs to ensure a favourable policy environment that supports continued research and development of new medicines through a system of patents.

Protecting intellectual property will help bring new solutions for rare diseases and new medicines, to save and improve lives.

While we must improve access to healthcare for Indian patients, we should understand what this access means. An IMS study finds that access starts with the proximity, quality and functionality of healthcare infrastructure. Accurate diagnosis is often more important than the price of medicine.

More than affordability, another barrier to access is the inability to pay out-of-pocket and the lack of insurance cover. To improve access, we need sustainable policy solutions to support healthcare financing, infrastructure and human resource challenges.

Certainly, a weakened IP environment or Compulsory Licences (CLs) cannot address India’s healthcare problems. Under Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), CLs are used in exceptional circumstances, and as a last resort. Under Section 92 of the Indian Patents Act, CLs come into play in situations such as national emergency and public health crises. Used arbitrarily, CLs will serve to undermine the innovative pharmaceutical industry, to the long-term detriment of the patient.

We need a different dialogue on the subject of making life-saving drugs affordable in India. There is no question that everybody should have access to all medicines. Where patented products are largely beyond the reach of Indian patients, companies have robust programmes to make them available for free or for a fraction of their price. Multinational companies are considering differentiated pricing schemes for developing countries. Today, patients are living longer and healthier lives, thanks to innovative medicines from research-based companies. In many cases, these medicines are their only chance for survival.

Ranjana Smetacek is director general, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India. The views expressed are personal.

 

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/a-prescription-for-india-s-medical-problems/article1-1379460.aspx

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Need to strike 'careful balance' in IPR related cases: Competition Commission of India

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By PTI | 7 Aug, 2015, 04.32PM IST

NEW DELHI: As it probes cases related to intellectual property rights (IPR), CCI chairman Ashok Chawla today said its intervention in such matters would be "cautious and balanced" to ensure that incentive for innovation is not undermined.

"When intervening in IPR related markets, it is important to strike a careful balance so as not to undermine incentives to innovate," Chawla said.

The Competition Commission of India's (CCI) chairman also emphasised that its intervention wo ..

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http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48391421.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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PU puts in place IPR policy

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Priyanka Kachhava Priyanka Kachhava,TNN | Jul 30, 2015, 02.28 PM IST

CHANDIGARH: After the Panjab University (PU) syndicate approved its intellectual property rights (IPR) policy, the university has become the first institution in the region to have such a policy in place. The document is expected to serve as a model for other universities and institutions in the region.

 Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), which was also involved in drafting the policy, is set to propose the PU-IPR policy as a model document for all institutions in Punjab and Chandigarh. "All institutions have an IPR cell, but there is no certain IPR policy document in place to guide and serve as a reference in general, or in case of a conflict. This document can serve as a reference point, while institutions develop their own respective policies," said Neelima Jerath, executive director of PSCST.

 While PU's Centre for Industry-Institute Partnership Programme (CIIPP) has drafted the policy, it will be controlled by the university's IPR cell. The CIIPP will also provide an assistance of up to Rs50,000 to persons applying for a patent, allowing two patents per faculty per year. For the same, the university will seek the services of the Patent Information Centre (PIC) at PSCST. PU will assist inventors in acquiring the IPR and protecting the same. If a patent is filed through PIC, all charges are borne by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC). The agency also maintains the patent for a period of 10 years, on the condition that inventors make sincere efforts to commercialize the invention…

Read more at Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/PU-puts-in-place-IPR-policy/articleshow/48280410.cms?

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No Deal Overall, But TPP Ministers Agreed Some IPR Issues In Hawaii, US Says

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01/08/2015 by WilliamNew, Intellectual Property Watch

While the ministers of the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) acknowledged they are still far apart on certain issues such as dairy, there were some areas of agreement in this week’s negotiation in Hawaii, they said. Some of them appear to have been related to intellectual property rights, with particular mention of geographical indications.

In answer to a question at the closing press conference on what was agreed since the start of the week, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman said an example would be intellectual property rights, specifically geographical indications. He gave no further details.

GIs have been an area of significant debate globally, as Europe and some other regions generally use a different system of protection for such products than countries that tend to use trademarks for this purpose…

Read more at Source: http://www.ip-watch.org/2015/08/01/no-deal-overall-but-tpp-ministers-agreed-some-ipr-issues-in-hawaii-us-says/

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Swipe To Patent: Design Patents In The Age Of User Interfaces

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by Beth Ferrill, Lauren Dreyer, Erik Dreyer, John Sanchez

User experience and user-interface design is an emerging field in the technology industry, even more so in the legal world of patents. (Sometimes this field is known by the shorthand UX/UI.) It might surprise you to know that the fastest growing segment of design patent filings is in the UX/UI space.

In the past, companies that manufactured a physical object, like a sneaker, often protected their designs with design patents. For a company like Nike, design-patent protection is important to preventing competitors from copying their shoe designs. But, the same is true for companies invested in UX/UI.

The surge in UX/UI design has created iconic features that cause consumers to immediately associate a design with a particular brand. From cell phones to remote controls, gaming devices to virtual reality headsets, modern products are carefully designed with the user in mind…

Read more at Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/08/03/swipe-to-patent-design-patents-in-the-age-of-user-interfaces/

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Airbus Patented a Jet Capable of Flying 4 Times the Speed of Sound

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Jack Linshi @jacklinshi   4:54 PM ET

Airbus has won a patent for an “ultra-rapid air vehicle” that the aircraft maker says could travel over four times the speed of sound, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent, which was approved last month, details a hypersonic jet twice as fast as the Concorde, a supersonic jet that had previously been in commercial service. The Concorde, which was developed partly by a company now owned by Airbus, was capable of flying at about 1,300 mph (2,100 km/h), or twice the speed of sound — a feat the new invention can beat with new turbojets and a hydrogen power system, according to the patent.

Read more at Source: http://time.com/3982901/airbus-patent-supersonic-jet/

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IPAB sets aside order denying trademark to Rasi Seeds

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Trademark application was for its word mark 'Breeding Excellence'

BS Reporter  |  Chennai  August 2, 2015 Last Updated at 17:00 IST

The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has set aside an order of the Trade Mark authority for a trade mark application filed by Rasi Seeds Pvt Ltd for its word mark "Breeding Excellence".
Issuing an order on an appeal filed by Rasi Seeds, the board said that the order of Assistant Registrar of Trade Mark was not a speaking order.

The order was issued in an appeal filed by Rasi Seeds against an order passed by the Assistant Registrar of Trade Mark in December, 2014, refusing its application for the registration of the trade mark for the word mark "Breeding Excellence".

Read more at source: http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/ipab-sets-aside-order-denying-trademark-to-rasi-seeds-115080200450_1.html

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Settlement With Bata Reached Over Trademark: Relaxo

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Press Trust of India | Last Updated: August 01, 2015 17:21 (IST)

New Delhi: Relaxo Footwears on Saturday said it has reached a settlement with competitor Bata India over the use of trademark 'SPARX' in favour of Relaxo Footwears.

"The company has executed a deed of settlement with Bata India for assignment of trademark 'SPARX' in favour of Relaxo Footwears Ltd," Relaxo Footwears said in a filing to the BSE.

"Both companies have agreed to file necessary consent terms before the Hon'ble Delhi High Court in due course, for withdrawal/settlement of all pending litigations filed by/against Bata India Ltd and the company," it added.

Relaxo Footwears said the benefit on account of this assignment of trademark along with saving in cost of litigation is considered to be materially beneficial to the company in the long term.

In 2009, Bata dragged Relaxo Footwear before the Delhi High Court alleging infringement of one of its popular brand Sparx.

Source: http://profit.ndtv.com/news/corporates/article-settlement-with-bata-reached-over-trademark-relaxo-1202826

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