S.S. RANA & CO. NEWSLETTER NEW YEAR SPECIAL 2016

 

The Year That Was

 

On December 19, 2016, Merriam-Webster announced that its Word of the Year for 2016 is surreal. Few people would disagree that this is the most accurate and level-headed way to describe the past year in a single word. In the recent past, selections have usually been words that made popular jargon. For instance, ‘Selfie’ was Oxford's Word of the Year in 2013. This year, the choice was based on the degree to which searches for the word spiked in 2016.

 

 

“’Twas the year of #Brexit, ’twas the year of Trump!”

 

Internationally speaking, the year 2016 has been the year of movers and shakers. The Brussels attacks in March, the coup attempt in Turkey, the massacre at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in June, the Nice attack in July, the Aleppo events. 2016 saw the tragic deaths of David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Fidel Castro and not to mention George Michael, whose physical presence we lost as recently as on Christmas Day itself, and Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, famous for playing the role of Princess Leia, whom we lost two days after Christmas, shortly followed by her mother Debbie Reynolds, the ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ star.. It was the year when the United Kingdom voted in favor of leaving the European Union, and the world’s oldest continually existing democracy elected a former television show host as its President, and what a controversial one at that!

 

For India too, 2016 has been an eventful year, the beginning of which was marked by suspension of the India-Pakistan diplomatic talks due to the terrorist attacks on the Pathankot Air Force Station. This was followed by a wave of protests by college students at JNU, against the capital punishment meted out to convict Afzal Guru, which led to a downward spiral of conundrum leading to the arrest of the JNU Students’ Union president on charges of sedition. The country’s tryst with discrimination on basis of caste surfaced again when Rohit Vemula, a student of University of Hyderabad, committed suicide. In sports, India’s stint at the Olympics was gushingly celebrated after having bagged one bronze and a silver in the wrestling and badminton events, in spite of wrestler Narsingh Yadav and shot-putter Inderjeet Singh being ruled out disgracefully because of doping. Further, to the relief of the Servicemen in the armed forces, a one-man judicial commission was set up that implemented the scheme of One Rank One Pension. It is a longstanding demand of the Indian armed forces veterans, and it stands for, “same pension, for same rank, for same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement”. Much unprecedented, the nation was shook to its core when terrorists attacked an Indian Army brigade in Uri, near the LOC, that resulted in the deaths of 19 Indian soldiers and eventually having produced the need to resort to conduct ‘Surgical Strikes’ by the Indian Army against terrorists in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The second surgical strike by the government towards the end of the year in November was proverbial, when the Prime Minister surprisingly made a radical economic move against the hoarders of black money with his demonetization policy. To counter corruption, the lives of the 1.2 billion were thrown into disarray and this was equally criticized as well as commended across the world.

 

All of the above events fit the definition of ‘surreal’ – "marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.”

 

2016 – Year in IP

 

The year also saw many significant IP developments, for instance, the most awaited National IPR Policy, was approved by the Union Cabinet and made public by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion on May 12, 2016 that laid down the future roadmap for Intellectual Property Protection and Management in India. In terms of major amendments, the Government of India published the Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2016 vide notification dated May 16, 2016. The new Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2016 were issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on May 16, 2016. Further, to establish an institutional mechanism for the safe conduct of clinical trials, the Government announced the revised guidelines for Biosimilars with effect from August 15, 2016.

 

In terms of IPR enforcement and awareness, 2016 was laden with one government initiative after the other. The year began with the launch of the Start-up India: Stand Up India campaign which was launched on January 16, 2016. The campaign is an action plan aimed at promoting bank financing for start-up ventures to boost entrepreneurship and encourage Start-Ups with job creation. The policy hopes to restrict the role of States in policy domain and to get rid of the license raj and hindrances like in land permissions, foreign investment proposal, environmental clearances, etc. To further facilitate a culture of innovation, the Office of the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) released the ‘Scheme for Facilitating Start-Ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP)’. The major objective of the scheme is to protect and promote Intellectual Property Rights awareness for startups and to encourage creativity and innovation amongst them by the appointment of IP facilitators. As an incentive, the start-ups shall not have to pay any kind of fee for seeking services from the facilitators. Instead, the facilitators shall directly be paid by the Central Government through the office of the CGPDTM. However, the statutory application costs and other processing fees shall have to be borne by the start-ups themselves.

 

The Indian Courts also rendered some noteworthy judgments and observations like in the DU Photocopy case, the Prius Trademarks Infringement case, the green light given to Biocon by the Delhi High Court to continue to market the breast cancer drug, Trastuzumab. Apart from IP laws, the Newsletter will also deal with corporate laws and other related legal developments of note in India in the year 2016.

 

Meanwhile, the year 2016 has been a stepping stone in the success of S.S. Rana & Co., where the firm not only successfully completed 27 glorious years of hard work and commitment since 1989, but was also awarded with the ISO 500001:2011 Certification, which reinforces the firm’s commitment to continually improve its energy performance through reducing its energy demand, increasing energy efficiency and sourcing energy in the most efficient, cost effective and environment responsible manner.

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In This Issue

2016 – YEAR IN COPYRIGHT& DESIGNS

 

Supreme Court of India: Sound Recorder’s rights does not affect rights of Composers & Lyricists

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DU Copyright case: the much awaited judgment in Indian Copyright Jurisprudence

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Delhi High Court orders that ‘artistic works’ related to ‘design’ can only be protected under the Designs Act, and not under the Copyright Act

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Copyright and Semi-Conductors brought under the ambit of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)

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Copyright Dispute between Kriti and Bob results in removal of both the films from YouTube

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Leak of Movie “Udta Punjab” Creates Unrest in Bollywood

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2016 – YEAR IN TRADE MARKS

 

India: Mass Abandonment of Trademark Applications by the Trade Marks Registry

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India: Trademark Examination Report Issuance Timeline Reduced to One Month!

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India: Highest Damages Awarded By Delhi High Court in IP Matters

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India: Court's Permission not required for Rectification of Trademark during Pendency of a Suit

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India: Calcutta High Court orders that only the Registered Proprietor of the Trademark can sue for its Infringement

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India: Bombay High Court rules on the inter-relation between a Trademark and a Domain Name

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India: Delhi High Court grants interim injunction against Britannia for “deceptively similar” packaging

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2016 – YEAR IN PATENTS

 

India: New Numbering System for Patent Applications & Examination Requests

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Indian Patent Office – Revised Guidelines for Examination of CRIs Issued

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India: Patents First Examination Report to be issued within 18 months

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India: Revised Guidelines on Similar Biologics

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In This Issue

 

2016 – YEAR IN GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS (GI)

 

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2016 – CORPORATE LAW YEARLY

 

Welcoming the new era of corporate litigation in India

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Pay Once, Pay Them All!

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Washaway Reforms vis a vis Debt Recovery, Bankruptcy, and Sick Industrial Units

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Boosting Startups in India: The Startup Intellectual Property Protection Scheme

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Crowdfunding Quagmires: The Chilling Effect of SEBI’s antagonistic letter regarding Crowdfunding Platforms

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The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (General) Rules, 2016

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From P to E: Smidgeons of Digitization on Companies (Incorporation) Fourth Amendment Rules, 2016

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Coffee with HR: A People Vision

 

Taking Initiatives

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Conferences/ Lectures

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Celebrating Festivals

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High on Sportsman Spirit

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Diversity Report

 

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2016 – YEAR IN COPYRIGHT& DESIGNS

 

The year 2016 had much in store for Copyrights and Designs as well. The much awaited and controversial DU copyright decision was passed by the Delhi High Court this year, the repercussions of which are bound to be felt for the next few years to come. Further, while the debate over the legal status of the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) is slowly getting resolved with the Government of India declaring after an inquiry that they are no longer registered copyright societies under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, another copyright society, Indian Singers’ Rights Association (ISRA) has come into the limelight, having received its certificate of Registration from the Central Government on June 14, 2016, for collecting royalties on behalf of singers/performers for making commercial use of performances. As an update, in a mandamus writ petition filed by M/s. Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) in the Delhi High Court, a Single Judge vide order dated December 23, 2016 has granted interim relief restraining IPRS, PPL and Novex Communications from issuing or granting licenses in breach of Section 33 of the Copyright Act. The matter is fixed for further proceedings on April 24, 2017, and the relevant order can be found here. Below is a brief compilation of some of the highlights in the arena of copyrights and designs in India from the past year.

 

Supreme Court of India: Sound Recorder’s rights does not affect rights of Composers & Lyricists

 

In the case of International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) V. Aditya Pandey & Ors., the Supreme Court of India primarily dealt with the issue on the acquisition of licenses regarding songs, wherein there are three different sets of rights from three distinct parties – the lyricist’s rights over lyrics, the composer’s rights over music, and the sound recording company’s rights over the sound recording. The Supreme Court, vide its judgment dated September 20, 2016, authoritatively observed that the producer of a sound recording is an ‘author’ under Section 2(d) of the Copyright Act, but that does not affect the separate right of any work in respect of which a sound recording is made, as provided in Section 13(4) of the Act. The Apex Court also enumerated the distinction between assignment of a copyright of a work and license to use the work vis-à-vis in assignment, normally, ownership of the copyright of the work is transferred however, in the case of licensing, another person is allowed/ granted license to use the work by the author. The Supreme Court further authoritatively held that consequent to the 2012 amendment to the Indian Copyright Act, the assignment of the copyright in the work to make sound recording which does not form part of any cinematograph film, shall not affect the right of the author of the work to claim an equal share of royalties or/and consideration payable for utilization of such work in any form by the plaintiff/respondent.

 

 

DU Copyright case: the much awaited judgment in Indian Copyright Jurisprudence

 

This judgment of the Delhi High Court in the case of The Chancellor, Masters, & Scholars of the University of Oxford & Ors. V. Rameshwari Photocopy Services [RFA(OS) 81/2016] is very similar in context and importance to the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in Canadian CCH v. Law Society of Upper Canada ([2004] 1 SCR 339), especially so regarding the parallels between the law laid down regarding fair use and fair dealing. The importance of this judgment cannot be overstated. The clichéd analogies that have been applied to the aforesaid case in the media are quite apt. This was soundly reiterated by Justice Endlaw when he ruled vide order dated September 16, 2016, that Defendant, Rameshwari Photocopy Service was not infringing on the copyrights of Plaintiffs regarding the impugned course packs or study material (which included excerpts from books published by Plaintiffs, including some well-known names like Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press) which were photocopied and distributed by said Defendant for the benefit of students of Delhi University who made regular and conducive use of the said material for academic purposes. This judgment brings an end to an ongoing legal battle that has been going on for the last 4 years.

 

This legal battle began in 2012, when the Plaintiffs filed a civil suit against the Defendants, Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy Service, for copyright infringement. Plaintiffs in the case were renowned names such as Oxford University Press (OUP) UK, Cambridge University Press UK, Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd., Taylor & Francis Group UK and Taylor & Francis Books India Pvt. Ltd.

 

It is undeniable that the Defendants had copied from the works of the Plaintiffs, but the questions regarding legality of the same can be summarized as – Whether the copying done by the Defendant could be classified as permissible use, with regard to copyright law, and whether the actions of the Defendants were fair dealing as per the Copyright Act, 1957. During trial, two more parties were impleaded as Defendants – Society for the Promotion of Educational Access and Knowledge (SPEAK) and Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK), which, interestingly, were specifically created for the purposes of such litigation.

 

This case encompassed the conflict of interest between two very distinct groups, with differing priorities, means, and interests – the interests of students as a whole, the majority of which simply cannot afford the original copies of the many academic books, and the interests of publishing houses, who claim to have absolute copyright on the books published by them and suffer a loss of income when their books are shunned in favor of cheaper alternatives like the impugned course packs.

 

While deciding whether the actions of the Defendant university fall under the ambit of the fair dealing provision enshrined in Section 52 of the Copyright Act, the Delhi High Court reiterated the well-known maxim of legal interpretation that general provisions yield to special provisions, and observed that the Defendant’s acts of making photocopies and subsequent dissemination of the same does not constitute publication as per Section 3 of the Act, as such actions are essentially making photocopies of an already published work. It was further held that the scope of Section 52 is not restricted to individual teachers and pupils, and must be construed broadly to include educational institutions. This is in line with the academic realities of the world wherein individual teaching has largely been replaced by institutionalized education. The Court also deliberated upon the meaning and interpretation of the term “course of instruction”. Firstly, it was held the word “instruction” is not restricted to something akin to lectures. Secondly, that the term “course of instruction” includes the reproduction of any work while the process of imparting instruction by the teacher and receiving instruction by the pupil continues, wherein receiving instruction is not limited to personal interface between teacher and pupil. In this vein, the Court held that the actions of the Defendant photocopying shops, including the Defendants themselves, are not the Plaintiff’s competitors with respect to the sales of Plaintiff’s books. Court observed that most of Plaintiff’s books are indeed out of financial reach of many students, and said students would still resort to copying, but by other means like physically copying from the books by their own writing. Therefore, it would be unfair to deny students use of modern amenities like photocopying. Also, students would still find ways of using Plaintiff’s books instead of outright buying them.

 

Deciding the case in favor of the Defendants and holding that their acts do not amount to copyright infringement, the Court stated that “Copyright, especially in literary works, is thus not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations. It is designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public.”

 

 Delhi High Court orders that ‘artistic works’ related to ‘design’ can only be protected under the Designs Act, and not under the Copyright Act

 

The Single Bench of Delhi High Court, in OK Play India Ltd. V. Mayank Aggarwal & Ors. [CS (OS) No. 2355/2015 & CC No. 6/2016], vide its order dated August 2, 2016 ruled in favor of Defendants by vacating the previous ex parte ad interim injunction granted to Ok Play India Ltd. The Court analyzed the relation between the Copyright Act and the Designs Act, and ordered that Artistic works which are related to Designs can only be protected under the Designs Act and not under the Copyright Act.

Plaintiff, OK Play India Ltd., is a leading manufacturer and distributor of products made from plastic moulding technology including toys, school furniture and playground equipment. Plaintiff is also the registered proprietor of the trademark ‘OK PLAY' since August 25, 2005. Plaintiff sued eight Defendants including Playwell Impex Private Limited and Funko India who are involved in manufacture and distribution of similar products which are a substantial re-production and colorable imitation of the products of Plaintiff, and claimed relief of permanent injunction to restrain the Defendants from infringing its copyright, common law rights in designs and passing off of deceptively similar products. An ex parte ad interim injunction was granted to Plaintiff vide order dated August 7, 2015 and Defendants’ goods were seized by the Court Commissioner appointed vide the same order.  

 

The main argument of Plaintiff was that there is a clear distinction between an original artistic work and a design derived from it for industrial application on a product. The original artistic work which may be used to industrially produce the designed article would fall within the meaning of the artistic work defined under Section 2(c) of the Copyright Act and would be entitled to copyright protection as defined under Section 2(d) of the Designs Act. Furthermore, the Defendants in their written statement have admitted the e-mail forwarding the brochure of the toys of the Plaintiff and therefrom it is evident that the Defendants are replicating from the brochure of the Plaintiff. Meanwhile, the Defendants mainly contended that the drawing in which the Plaintiff claims a copyright does not constitute a design within the meaning of Section 2(d) of the Designs Act and was thus, not capable of being registered under the Designs Act. Further, Plaintiff had no right to claim protection of design without any registration under the Designs Act. Moreover, Plaintiff’s toys are being manufactured since 1992, hence, not novel and similar products are available in the market for ages.

 

The Court held that if a design is applied to an article and re-produced for more than 50 times by industrial process after making a drawing, then the drawing cannot be treated disjunctively from the said design and copyright cannot be vested in such drawing. Section 15(2) of the Copyright Act expressly ends the said protection. Plaintiff’s products are manufactured more than 50 times by industrial process and their designs are registrable under the Designs Act. In any case, protection of a design is for a maximum period of 15 years which has lapsed for the Plaintiff. Therefore, no protection on the basis of copyright can be given to the Plaintiff. Holding thus, the Court allowed the applications of the Defendants for vacation of the ex parte order and return of their goods as seized by the Court Commissioner/s.

 

Copyright and Semi-Conductors brought under the ambit of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)

 

Earlier this year, the Government of India announced that copyright and semiconductors are to be brought under the ambit of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The news was revealed by DIPP, Joint Secretary, Mr. Rajiv Aggarwal at a seminar on ‘Managing Copyright in Publishing’ organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) along with the department and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on March 31, 2016.

 

The move of shifting copyright from the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry and semiconductors from the purview of the Department of Information Technology was touted as a welcome development by many. The transfer has the consequence of consolidating all IP related functions under one body, with the hope of reducing turf wars between different departments with regard to jurisdiction and uniformity in decision making at both national and international levels. The DIPP is already administering the Patents Act, 1970, the Trade Marks Act, 1999, the Designs Act, 2000 and the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 and also matters pertaining to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and WIPO.

 

Copyright Dispute between Kriti and Bob results in removal of both the films from YouTube

 

Back in July 2016, controversy between Indian filmmaker Shirish Kunder’s short film ‘Kriti’ and Nepalese filmmaker Aneel Neupane’s short film ‘Bob’ over copyright infringement resulted in removal of both the films from YouTube.

 

 

According to Neupane, Shirish Kunder practically stole the plot and made it into his film. However, Kunder alleged that it was Neupane’s short film ‘Bob’, released on May 12, 2016 which was a copy of his film ‘Kriti’ which was shot in February, 2016. Neupane in turn alleged that his film ‘Bob’ was uploaded on Vimeo in October 2015, as a private video which can be shared with close friends. In reply to Neupane’s allegation, Kunder further stated that he was not their friend and had no means to access ‘Bob’.

 

The whole controversy ultimately resulted in the removal of both the films from YouTube due to copyright claims. ‘Bob’, however, can still be viewed on Vimeo.

 

 

Leak of Movie “Udta Punjab” Creates Unrest in Bollywood

 

The Bollywood movie “Udta Punjab” can be boldly categorized as one of the most controversial movies of our times. The movie which is based on the theme of drug abuse in the Indian State of Punjab had first fallen into the vicious trap of the Central Board of Film Certification (“CBFC”) which cleared its release with an astonishing 89 cuts and also fluttered away the word “Punjab” from its title. However, later on the movie was cleared by the Bombay High Court with only one cut. The second controversy that the movie landed up in, was its leak on the internet two days prior to its official scheduled release in June 2016. The movie was reportedly downloadable on torrent websites. Indian Daily, the Times of India had reported that pursuant to the aforesaid incident, the makers of the movie filed a criminal complaint of copyright theft with the Bandra-Kurla Complex cyber police station. Reportedly, pursuant to the said complaint, the movie was removed from the infringing websites and a message was displayed on the sites which read as “removed due to a copyright complaint”.

 

 

This was not the first time that Bollywood had encountered leak of a movie on the internet prior to its release. There have been several instances when Bollywood movies have suffered a similar fate. In view of such prevalent instances of illegal broadcast of movies, several times production houses invoke the remedy of John Doe Orders (against unknown defendants) to restrain illegal downloads and prevent cable operators from broadcasting the movie without proper license or authorization from the producer. Additionally, the Indian Copyright Amendment Act, 2012 also introduced criminal provisions like protection of technological measure (Section 65A) and protection of right management information (Section 65B) which entail digital rights management measures for preventing piracy in cinematographic films, and also hold the downloader/ user criminally accountable for bypassing “rights management information without authority”.

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2016 – YEAR IN TRADE MARKS

The year 2016 was a bumpy ride for the trademarks fraternity in India. Some highlights of the year gone by is compiled below.

India: Mass Abandonment of Trademark Applications by the Trade Marks Registry

The entire Indian trademarks fraternity was thrown into a frenzy when the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM), between March 28 and 31, 2016, took intense steps against approximately 1.95 lakh (about 195 thousand) applications which were due for processing at various stages in various departments of the office. On March 31, 2016 around 52,000 orders were issued on a single date for abandonment of the applications. The reason given for such a severe step was avoiding congestion of applications to facilitate in smooth functioning of the office, and periodical disposal of pending applications and files as practiced across several countries and as mentioned in the Madrid Protocol. Although the reasons provided by the Registrar were in accordance with the spirit of Trademark Law followed internationally, however, the execution did not follow proper procedure provided under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. This threw the Indian trademarks fraternity into such a frenzy that the Intellectual Property Attorney Association of India filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court, where Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manmohan vide order dated April 04, 2016 stayed the orders of abandonment passed by the Trade Marks Office on or after March 20, 2016. It was further added that the Trade Marks Office shall not treat any trademark application as being abandoned without any proper notice to the affected party. In response, the Trade Marks Office released a Public Notice dated April 11, 2016, to notify the public that the abandonment orders passed by the Registrar of Trade Marks after March 20, 2016 would be kept in abeyance and the applicants or their authorised agents could file the replies to examination reports containing the Office objections by means of comprehensive e-filing services of trademarks at the official website or by e-mail.  

India: Trademark Examination Report Issuance Timeline Reduced to One Month!

The other major highlight of 2016 was in the month of May, when the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions (DIPP) set a target to reduce the timeline for examination of trademark applications from the existing 13 months to 8 months, with an ambitious target to further reduce the same to 1 month by 2017. It is noteworthy to mention here that the Trade Marks Registry has exceeded general expectations and has indeed drastically reduced the timeline for issuing examination reports to almost 1-2 months. A large number of trademark applications e-filed by our firm in November have already been issued with their examination reports within a month. This sure gives a lot of hope for a progressive reformative culture in the Office of the Registrar of Trade Marks and faster processing of trademark applications.

India: Highest Damages Awarded By Delhi High Court in IP Matters

 

In Cartier International AG & Ors. Vs. Gaurav Bhatia & Ors. [CS (OS) No. 1317/2014], the Plaintiffs, filed the suit before the Delhi High Court seeking permanent injunction, restraining infringement of trademark, passing off, damages etc. against the Defendants, who were proceeded ex parte. The Defendants were allegedly operating an e-commerce website www.digaaz.com where they were offering counterfeit lifestyle and fashion products for sale bearing the trademarks and logos of various luxury brands, including those of the Plaintiffs. The Court passed a permanent injunction restraining the Defendants from using the Plaintiffs’ trademarks or any deceptive or confusingly similar trademark. Proceeding ex parte against the Defendants who deliberately stayed away from the proceedings and did not provide accounts of their illegal profits, the Court held that a party who chooses to stay away from court proceedings must, thus, suffer the consequences of damages as stated and set out by the Plaintiffs in such cases. The Court, relying on the principle laid down in the case Time Incorporated V. Lokesh Srivastava & Anr., granted damages worth of INR 1 Crore (151,000 USD Approx.) to Plaintiffs vide its landmark judgment dated January 04, 2016. The computation of damages was done on the basis of number of visitors to Defendants’ website www.digaaz.com, the number of counterfeit products which were likely to have been sold by Defendants since at least June 2012 and the average price quoted for counterfeit watches found in possession of Defendants.

 

India: Court's Permission not required for Rectification of Trademark during Pendency of a Suit

 

The Full Bench of the Delhi High Court in Data Infosys & Ors. v. Infosys Technologies Ltd. [FAO (OS) 403/2012], vide its judgment dated February 05, 2016 sought to provide some clarity and solve the judicial conflict on the question whether prior permission of the Court is required under Section 124(1)(b)(ii) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 for rectification of a registered trade mark during the pendency of the suit. Infosys Technologies Ltd. (Respondent) filed a suit against Data Infosys (Appellant) before the Delhi High Court for infringement of its registered trade mark “Infosys” and sought permanent injunction. However, during pendency of the suit, Appellant’s application for registration of its mark “Data Infosys” was accepted and registered under Classes 9, 38 and 42. Upon becoming aware of this, Respondent immediately filed rectification proceedings against such registration without taking leave of the Court.

 

The Court observed that as per Section 124, Court’s jurisdiction extends only to examining whether a prima facie case for invalidity exists only for the limited purpose of granting an adjournment/stay, while the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has the exclusive jurisdiction to decide on validity of registration of trade mark. An infringement suit in a civil court and the process of rectification can proceed separately. The Court further held that the IPAB has exclusive jurisdiction to consider and decide upon merits of the plea of invalidating of a trademark registration, and that access to IPAB is not dependent on a Civil Court’s prima facie assessment of tenability of a plea of trade mark registration. The Court also held by a majority that the only two situations where a suit for infringement action can be stayed are – if rectification proceedings have been filed before the institution of such suit, and if the plea of invalidity of the trade mark registration is prima facie tenable. The Full Bench of the Delhi High Court thus finally provided clarity by holding that both the IPAB and Civil Courts have exclusive jurisdiction and a party does not require prior permission from the Court to have access to file the proceedings in the IPAB. The Court further clarified the situations where a suit for infringement can be stayed.

India: Calcutta High Court orders that only the Registered Proprietor of the Trademark can sue for its Infringement

 

In Hindustan Unilever Limited V. Three Leaves India Pvt. Ltd., the Petitioner, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., pleaded before the Calcutta High Court to extend the ad-interim injunction against the Respondent, Three Leaves India Pvt. Ltd. for restraining them from selling and/or offering for sale or market tea in packets bearing the label “Nowalty”/ , as it was deceptively similar to or a colorable imitation of the Petitioner’s label “Lipton”/ . On June 27, 2016, the Calcutta High Court ruled in favor of the Respondent and rejected the plea of the Petitioner for extending the ad interim order of injunction. The Respondent mainly argued that the suit for trademark infringement was not maintainable before the Court in light of Sections 52 and 53 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 as registration of the mark “Lipton” stands in the name of Unilever PLC, a company registered under the laws of England. The Court observed that the plaint as well as injunction application lacked material documents relating to an assignment of the trademark in favor of the Petitioner. The Court further observed that the Petitioner had misused and mutualized its resources in procurement of police help to render assistance to the special officer appointed by this Court in carrying out the directions passed on May 12, 2016 and that the ad interim order was obtained by misleading the Court and caused immense sufferance to the Respondent. Thereafter, the Court declined to extend the ad interim order of injunction and also imposed a cost of INR 2,00,000 (3020 USD Approx.) to be paid by the Petitioner to the Respondent

 

India: Bombay High Court rules on the inter-relation between a Trademark and a Domain Name

 

In Raymond Ltd. v. Raymond Pharmaceutical Limited [Notice of Motion No. 230 of 2015 in Suit (L) No. 957 of 2014], the Plaintiff, Raymond Ltd., had sought injunction to restrain the Defendant, Raymond Pharmaceuticals Ltd., from infringing the Plaintiffs’ registered mark RAYMOND or any similar mark in its domain name www.raymondpharma.com or any other domain name incorporating the mark RAYMOND. The Bombay High Court, in view of the pleadings and in-depth analysis of precedents cited in the case, observed that Plaintiff has never been in the business of pharmaceuticals and the only element of commonality between the mark of Plaintiff and the domain name of Defendant is the word “RAYMOND”. The Court astutely observed that the corporate name of the Plaintiff and its mark RAYMOND has been used in diverse businesses and none of these businesses of Plaintiff as cited in the plaint involved the business of manufacture and sale of pharmaceuticals which the Defendant is engaged in. Court further observed that domain name administration cannot be based only on trade-mark legislation and domain name registration holds good only for the duration of the contract between the domain name registrant. Thereafter, the Court, vide it order dated July 20, 2016 held that domain name administration cannot be based only on trade-mark legislation and domain name registration holds good only for the duration of the contract between the domain name registrant, that a domain name can be held and used only by one person unless the same is shared by mutual agreement and in the instant case, since the Defendant has already registered the domain name “raymondpharma.com” the Plaintiff cannot use the same save and except with agreement of the Defendant or by seeking transfer of the domain name by lawful means. Court finally held that the impugned domain name has not been adopted without due cause or to take unfair advantage or cause any detriment to the distinctive character or repute of Plaintiff.

 

India: Delhi High Court grants interim injunction against Britannia for “deceptively similar” packaging

 

In ITC Ltd. V. Britannia Industries Ltd. [CS (Comm.) 1128/2016], ITC Ltd. (the Plaintiff) filed a suit against Britannia Industries Ltd. (the Defendant) to permanently injunct the latter from violating the packaging/trade dress rights of Plaintiff's products Plaintiff had launched a new product called “Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive – All Good” biscuits in February 2016. The packaging consisted a combination of the colors yellow and blue. . Defendant launched a similar product under the name “Nutri Choice Digestive Zero” biscuits a few months later in July 2016 having a deceptively similar packaging in yellow and blue.

 

The Delhi High Court, vide its order dated September 06, 2016 observed that the sales and turnover figures submitted by Plaintiff in support of their claims was a significant factor whilst examining the reputation of Plaintiff’s product. The Court also opined that secondary meaning or distinctiveness can be acquired in a short span of time and that with respect to eatables like biscuits, the color scheme of the packaging plays an important role in the consumer making an initial choice and in enabling a discerning consumer to locate the particular brand of a manufacturer. It was held that Defendant’s packaging was deceptively similar to that of Plaintiff’s product, and that the three elements of passing off are fulfilled in the present case. As per the Court’s reasoning, the balance of convenience was in favor of Plaintiff, and granting an interim injunction would cause far less damage to Defendant as their product has been in the market for only two months. The Court thereby granted an interim injunction restraining the Defendant from using any variant of color blue in the packaging, but allowed Defendant to use any other distinctive color instead or to use the same packaging as used in the international markets for the same product. This judgment goes a long way to establish trade mark infringement through trade dress/ packaging.

 

 

 

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2016 – YEAR IN PATENTS

The year 2016 saw many policy changes in the Indian Patents landscape, perhaps as an aftermath of the strong criticism India received on PM Modi’s visit to the USA earlier last year, and the subsequent formation of the DIPP. Some major developments this year are compiled below.

India: New Numbering System for Patent Applications & Examination Requests

 

The Indian Patent Office launched a new system of representation of patent applications and request for examination on December 31, 2015 to be applicable from January 01, 2016. The numbering system was launched in 2016 with the objective to attain uniformity and accessibility in processing of patent applications and requests for examination. As per the notification, the new format of patent application number has 12 characters fixed length numeric standard Patent Application Format and identifiers of year of filing, type of application and application number.

 

Format for Patent Applications

Format: YYYYJTNNNNNN

Where, YYYY represents year of filing the patent application

J is the jurisdiction of filing- 1 for Delhi, 2 for Mumbai, 3 for Kolkata, 4 for Chennai

T is type of application as follows:

1 for Ordinary, 2 for Ordinary- divisional, 3 for Ordinary- Patent of Addition, 4 for Convention, 5 for Convention- Divisional, 6 for Convention- Patent of Addition, 7 for PCT NP, 8 for PCT NP- Divisional, 9 for PCT NP- Patent of Addition

NNNNNN depicts a 6 digits fixed length common continuous running serial number applicable for all Patent Offices in India

 

Format for Request for Examination (RFE)

Format: RYYYYJNNNNNN

Where, R denotes Request for Examination, YYYY denotes year of filing the RFE, J depicts jurisdiction, NNNNNN depicts a 6 digits fixed length common continuous running serial number applicable for all Patent Offices in India

 

The notification detailing the new numbering format for patent applications/ request for examination can be accessed here.

 

Indian Patent Office – Revised Guidelines for Examination of CRIs Issued

 

On February 19, 2016, the Indian Patent Office (IPO) published a set of guidelines for the examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs) to foster consistency and uniformity in such examination. These guidelines were more compliant with the provisions of the Section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970. The initial guidelines issued by the IPO in August 2015 allowed patenting of software, thereby inviting a lot of criticism from experts in the software industry whose primary concern was the detrimental effect of patentability of software on IP innovators writing code against infringing action by multinational companies. These comments were accepted by the IPO and what is easily one of the most crucial development brought by the new Guidelines is the below three-step test: 

  1. Properly construe the claim and identify the actual contribution;

  2. If the contribution lies only in mathematical method, business method or algorithm, deny the claims;

  3. If the contribution lies in the field of computer programme, check whether it is claimed in conjunction with a novel hardware and proceed to other steps to determine patentability with respect to the invention. The computer programme in itself is never patentable. If the contribution lies solely in the computer programme, deny the claims. If the contribution lies in both the computer programme as well as hardware, proceed to other steps of patentability.

The said guidelines as published on the website www.ipindia.nic.in can be accessed here

Reportedly, top technology companies like TCS, Yahoo, Samsung, Ericsson, Microsoft and Philips from over 10 countries had their CRI applications rejected in India in the past year, and many applicants, including high-tech Indian companies such as Wipro, have started to receive negative examination reports calling for rejection of their patent applications. This has called into question the quality of patent examination in India for inventions in advanced software and communication technologies. Albeit on appeal, the decision of the Delhi High Court in the Ericsson versus Intex matter back in 2015 made it clear that CRIs that have a technical contribution or technical effect are patentable in India, aligning with the position taken by courts in the EU and the UK. The revised guidelines in 2016 brushed aside the Ericsson decision and provided the aforesaid three-step test to ascertain patentability of software patents. But many considered these guidelines as onerous as the lack of a novel hardware may become a reason for patents being denied even for worthy inventions. On February 24, 2016, the said revised guidelines were reportedly also withdrawn, and there has been no further update in this regard since.

 

India: Patents First Examination Report to be issued within 18 months

 

In April 2016, the Government of India drastically reduced the time period during which the First Examination Report (FER) is issued by the Indian Patent Office (IPO) for Examination of patent applications. The time allotted to issue FER now is 18 months in comparison with 5-7 years initially to avoid the delay in examination and subsequent grant of patents.

 

In order to achieve the timeline of 18 months, the Indian Patent Office reportedly hired 458 new examiners in addition to the existing 130 examiners of patents and designs. This came on the heels of the report that the total number of patent applications pending as on February 1, 2016 were 2,37,029.

 

India: Revised Guidelines on Similar Biologics

 

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) prepared and issued the “Guidelines on Similar Biologic”, effective from August 15, 2016. The Guidelines address the regulatory issues in manufacturing, safety, efficacy and quality aspects of a similar biologic product. For the uninitiated, a similar biologic product is one which is similar to the approved reference product in terms of quality, safety and efficacy.

 

The said guidelines were released to assess and provide regulatory guidelines for pre-market regulatory issues, pre-clinical and clinical trials, post-market regulatory issues. A brief summary of the main points of the said guidelines is as below:

  • A reference biologic, not marketed in India can be licensed in any ICH (International Council on Harmonization) country, i.e., EU, Japan, US, Canada and Switzerland;

  • Primary and secondary endpoints to be safety and immunogenicity;

  • Additional non-comparative immunogenicity studies not mandatory if immunogenicity has been evaluated in clinical studies;

  • If a preapproval study includes more than 100 patients on proposed similar Biologic drug, then the number of patients in phase IV study can be reduced;

  • Similar Biologics can only be developed against the Reference Biologic that has been approved using a complete data package in India;

  • The guidelines are applicable on Similar Biologics to be developed in India or imported to India for marketing authorization;

  • The Similar Biologics manufacturer to develop manufacturing process which yields a comparable quality product in terms of identity, purity and potency to the Reference Biologic;

  • The data requirements for review of manufacturing process at preclinical submission stage, shall include a complete description of the manufacturing process and also its consequences on product characteristics.

The guidelines in detail can be accessed here.

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2016 – YEAR IN GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS (GI)

The past year turned out to be an eventful year for geographical indications in India. The seemingly never-ending Basmati Rice GI dispute was largely resolved with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) approving the registration of the GI tag for Basmati rice according to the geographical demarcation provided by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) on February 05, 2016. According to the geographical demarcation provided by APEDA, seven north Indian Basmati rice-producing states i.e. Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir have got the GI tag as of now. The IPAB, while dismissing two oppositions from the Basmati Growers’ Association of Lahore, Pakistan on procedural grounds, has also directed the Registrar to reconsider the matter of inclusion of uncovered areas, especially state of Madhya Pradesh, in the area covered under the GI for Basmati. This move by the IPAB came with the opinion that in view of paramount national interest, it is imperative to protect Basmati rice as a geographical indication.

Meanwhile, on June 13, 2016, the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir was granted the Geographical Indication Certificate for its famous Kashmiri Hand Knotted Carpet. This was the fifth GI certification obtained by the controversial state of Jammu & Kashmir.

 

Besides these, other products that were granted Geographical Indication status in the past year include the Banaras Metal Repouse Craft from the state of Uttar Pradesh, and Sangli Raisins, Beed Custard Apple, Jalna Sweet Orange, Waigaon Turmeric, Purandar Fig, Jalgaon Brinjal and Solapur Pomogranate from the state of Maharashtra. Notably, even the world famous Parmigiano Reggiano, known as the “King of Cheese” from the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna (to the left of the Reno River), and Mantova (to the right of the Po River) in Italy attained GI status this year.

 

 

 

 

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2016 – CORPORATE LAW YEARLY

 

Welcoming the new era of corporate litigation in India

 

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs on June 1, 2016 notified the constitution of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). This implementation was in diminution for over a decade. The NCLT was scheduled to have 11 benches including 2 benches in New Delhi. NCLT and NCLAT collectively replaced the Company Law Board (CLB) and the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

(Image Source: Livemint)

 

The formation of NCLT has been effected keeping in mind the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. The notion is to consolidate the powers of various nodal authorities and vest it into one, resulting in simplification of the dispute resolution process and having a greater field impact as compared to the erstwhile regime. Now, a dispute must be disposed of within a period of 90 days. Additionally, the NCLT under the NCLT Rules can be approached to institute a Class Action Suit. Appeals from the NCLAT will be heard by the Supreme Court of India.

 

Pay Once, Pay Them All!

 

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on August 3, 2016. The Central Bureau of Excise and Customs released the Model Central and State GST Bills in November 2016. The Model Central and the State GST Bill provides for the levy of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) by the Centre, and State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) by the states. The Bill seeks to bring a uniform and harmonized structure for levying taxes. The proposed GST laws aim at providing a facility of setting off taxes payable by manufacturers, retailers and buyers thereby substantially reducing the burden of taxes on all of them and the tax rates will be decided by the GST Council established under the Bill.

 

The rolling out deadline for GST in India may be extended from April 1, 2017 to September 16, 2017. The nation seems to be eagerly looking forward to welcome the next financial year, so that the complexities caused due to different taxes such as CST, VAT, excise and service taxes etc. will be simplified.

 

Washaway Reforms vis a vis Debt Recovery, Bankruptcy, and Sick Industrial Units

 

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) was passed by the Parliament in May 2016 and certain provisions were notified on November 30, 2016 to strengthen the corporate insolvency resolution process initiated by a financial creditor/ operational creditor/ corporate applicant against a corporate debtor. Thereunder, references or inquiries pending before the BIFR and AAIFR shall be referred to the NCLT within a period of 6 months from the commencement of the code.

(Images Source: Business Standard)

 

The Sick Industrial Companies Act, 1985 was repealed in a synchronized fashion resulting in the dissolution of BIFR and the Companies Act, 2013 subsuming all the powers of restructuring.

 

Further, the Debt Recovery Bill was passed to collectively amend the SARFAESI Act, the RDBFI Act, the Stamp Act, and the Depositories Act. The reforms were brought about to ensure that the system is no longer lopsided in favour of a defaulter. The provisions will further crystalize the insolvency provisions implemented by the IBC. Under the Debt Recovery Bill, the secured assets will be centrally registered and the depositories will be empowered to transfer assets to the Asset Reconstruction companies with RBI as the watchdog overseeing the ARCs.

 

Boosting Startups in India: The Startup Intellectual Property Protection Scheme

 

 The Indian government had launched the scheme of facilitating Start-ups Intellectual Property Protection to protect patents, trademarks, and designs of innovative and interested startups with the idea of promoting IP Rights of startups and encouraging innovation and creativity amongst them. The scheme provides for provisions of access to high quality Intellectual Property in India.

Furthermore, the startups are not required to pay any fee for availing the services from the facilitators; on the other hand the facilitators will be paid directly by the Central Government through the office of the CGPDTM. The startups will only have to bear the statutory application costs and other processing fees.

 

Crowdfunding Quagmires: The Chilling Effect of SEBI’s antagonistic letter regarding Crowdfunding Platforms

 

The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in its recent press release (PR No. 137/2016) cautioned investors against online platforms functioning as crowdfunding podiums, that fund emerging business ventures by soliciting investments in lieu of equity stake in those businesses. SEBI’s maneuvered stand has been unequivocally contradictory to its 2014 opinion on crowdfunding as friendly funding sources for startups.

(Image Source: Lening.org)

 

The recent press release treats a crowdfunding platform analogous to a stock exchange and deems it in contravention to the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 and private placement norms under Companies Act, 2013. The analogy undertaken by SEBI has been a subject of debate because if it is squarely applied in all situations, anybody aiding a security deal may be dubbed as a stock exchange. Where on one hand SEBI has liberalized Angel fund regime on November 23, 2016 vide PR No. 161/ 2016, the move of pulling breaks at crowdfunding may act as a deterrent for startups until any genial clarification is released by the regulator.

 

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (General) Rules, 2016

 

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (General) Rules, 2016 made under The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 were notified in the five Union Territories in India. The Rules provide for a Standard Agreement for Sale to be executed between the buyer and the developer or builder. This Standard Agreement holds time to be of essence as it requires the Developer or Builders to refund the amount to the Allottee in case of delay in handing over the possession along with the prescribed interest rates. Other important features of the Standard Agreement include, receiving timely payment from buyer, Developer or Builder compensating the Allottee in case of any loss caused to him due to defective title of the land etc. It also protects the Developer or Builder in case the delay is not caused by any fault of his own. Guidelines were also notified by the Centre also for compensation in case of delayed delivery even for ongoing projects. Real Estate Appellate Tribunals were also to be constituted.

 

From P to E: Smidgeons of Digitization on Companies (Incorporation) Fourth Amendment Rules, 2016

 

Earlier, the incorporation procedure was facilitated by the filing of forms such as INC 7, DIR 12, and INC 22 manually. The same was substituted by the melting pot that is Form INC 29. The only and probably the most significant difference in the digital process of filing for incorporation through Form INC 32 is the resultant efficiency in the process. However, it does not make any relaxation in terms of attachment of necessary documents. All the forms are required to be filed with requisite attachments such as address proof, identity proof, affidavits and declarations by subscribers and directors, alongwith required No Objection Certificates (NOCs) and approval certificates as enumerated in the respective forms. If found complete and correct, the forms are verified, the company gets incorporated and a Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is issued along with the DIN to the proposed directors.

 (Image Source: Taxlane.in)

 

 

 

 


Coffee with HR: A People Vision

As 2017 is knocking round the corner, S.S. Rana & Co. wishes to take its readers on a tour of the HR initiatives taken in S.S. Rana & Co. in 2016. We at S.S. Rana & Co. have always focused on ongoing workplace developments, whether through engagement or by awareness.

 

Taking Initiatives

 

Our firm’s Vidya Darshan Rana Charitable Trust has always been committed to adopt the ways to help needy people. As a part of its social responsibility, Vidya Darshan Rana Charitable Trust and S.S. Rana & Co. extended support to needy under its campaign “Sunny Winter Week” by collecting and distributing woolen blanket, sweater, jacket, shawls.

 

S.S. Rana & Co.’s Green Policy Committee has always been committed to adopt policies that are environment friendly so as to protect and conserve our vulnerable natural resources. We always endeavor to implement eco-friendly measures in our office as well as surroundings so as to bring down the wastage and minimize the risks such as ozone depletion, greenhouse effect, global climate changes and/or global warming.

 

Conferences/ Lectures

 

2016 was an active year for the academics of the Firm as well. The Partner and Associates of the Firm were speakers in many conferences and lectures. Some of the noteworthy conferences and lectures where our partners and associates spoke were –

  1. (January) Ms. Tulip De, Associate Advocate, on “Trade Dress as a Branding Tool in India” at the Global Intellectual Property Conference (GIPC) 2016 at J.W. Marriott, New Delhi;

  2. (February) Mr. Vikrant Rana, Managing Partner, on “Introduction to Intellectual Property and Design Laws” at the School of Planning & Architecture at New Delhi;

  3. (April) Mr. Vikrant Rana, Managing Partner and Ms. Aakriti Thakur, Associate Advocate, on “Trademark Search: India and Worldwide” to a to a group of 120 women scientists at the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) at New Delhi;

  4. (April) Mr. Vikrant Rana, Managing Partner on “Strengthening IP Enforcement in India” for FICCI World IP Day at the FICCI Federation House in New Delhi;

  5. (May) Mr. Vikrant Rana, Managing Partner at a conference organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) at Hotel Taj in New Delhi;

  6. (August) Mrs. Lucy Rana, Managing Associate Advocate, delivered a lecture to a group of 60 college professors on “Training the Trainers: IPR workshop” at Ramjas College of Delhi University;

  7. (September) Mr. Vikrant Rana, Managing Partner, at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Intellectual Property Management (RGNIIPM) at Nagpur;

  8. (October) Mr. Vikrant Rana, Managing Partner, on the relevance of ISO-27001 certification for a law firm, at the FICPI 16th Open Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia;

  9. (November) Mr. Rupin Chopra and Mr. Bijit Das, Associate Advocates, conducted a workshop on “Trademark & Copyright Law” at Lovely Professional University at Jalandhar;

  10. (November) Mrs. Lucy Rana, Managing Associate Advocate, and Mr. Bijit Das, Associate Advocate, and at the Indian Institute of Art & Design (IIAD) at New Delhi;

  11. (December) Mrs. Lucy Rana, Managing Associate Advocate, on “a Roadmap to IPR Creation” at the National IPR Conference held at the PHD Chamber of Commerce, New Delhi.

 

 

High on Sportsman Spirit

 

S.S. Rana & Co. has always been an active participant in various sports and cultural corporate events to promote its employee interests and hobbies in a healthy manner.

Running

 

When Airtel Delhi was hosting its Half Marathon, the firm was not running far behind. The firm has been participating in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon since the last 6 years, and this feat was repeated this time around. Mr. Keshav Raj, an employee of the Firm, finished the 21 KMs race in 1 hours and 48 minutes and thus created a record for the Firm. The Firm had an impressive turnout of 13 runners for the 21 K.M. category out of which 13 runners finished the marathon, and a total turnout of 57 runners across all categories i.e. 21 K.M., 6 K.M. and 4 K.M.

 

Football

 

S. S. Rana & Co was also in news for making it to the Semi-Finals of the CII Soccer Fest organized at Commonwealth Games Sports Village, New Delhi. The Firm’s both Men’s and Women’s football teams qualified to the semi-finals in the Challengers Category of the CII Soccer Fest organized at New Delhi. Besides the CII Soccer Fest, the SSR Football team also made their presence felt at the Champion’s Cup 2016 in July and the Legends Cup 2016 in April.

 

 

Celebrating Festivals  

 

We at S. S. Rana & Co. always believe that employees are the assets to us and every year we celebrate any festivals with them as they do at home with lot of zeal and enthusiasm.

 

Now a yearly ritual, Women’s Day was celebrated with prizes galore for the achieving women of the firm, and knock-out pepper sprays were also handed out to each female employee of the firm.

 

Colored in the theme of Independence Day on August 15, 2016, employees came in tri color attire to office. We also distributed prizes to the best dressed employees.

 

The firm completed 27 glorious years on September 1, 2016, and on the occasion, the Firm organized a fun-filled entertainment gathering for its employees. The evening began with throwing light on the Firm’s memorable journey of the last 27 years. Recognitions and awards were also distributed to well deserving and performing employees followed by dance, food and drinks.

 

Bringing together people from different religions and castes under one room to celebrate the fundamental thought of unity and integrity, S.S. Rana & Co. also celebrated Diwali on October 28, 2016, by offering obeisance to goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune, followed by various employee-engagement programs where all employees of the firm participated with full vigour and enthusiasm.

 

The Firm also celebrated Christmas on December 24, 2016, by Organizing a ‘Christmas Cum Sports Day’. The said event was organized at Adventure Camp, Damdama Lake, and the day was well spent by everyone playing games and fun activities organized by the HR Department and the Resort authorities, concluded by an evening with the DJ where everyone danced their hearts out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Diversity Report

At S.S. Rana & Co., we take a holistic view of diversity that looks beyond the usual measurements. A view that includes the varied perspectives of our lawyers, as well as paralegals, support staff, vendors, etc., and/or anyone who aspires to a future in the legal profession. Because we know that new ideas come from diverse ways of seeing things. As a firm committed to diversity, we engage our lawyers through mentorship, teamwork, and a steadfast belief in the power of our profession to change society. By doing so, we create an environment that encourages innovative thinking and forges stronger bonds.

 

What diversity means at S.S. Rana & Co.?

 

Our Firm is constantly evolving, and diversity and inclusion are among the most important forces driving that evolution and reinvention. Our commitment to diversity comes from our conviction that reaching a critical mass of women and underrepresented minorities in our workforces brings ample benefits. These go far beyond the professional benefits to the Firm – which are many – to include the entire legal fraternity and our wider communities beyond.

 

Inclusion means ensuring that all employees are, and feel, free to bring their full selves to work, offer their true and unguarded perspectives, and find a welcoming and inviting place for those ideas. True change is made through both diversity and inclusion. Together, these concepts are transforming and defining our culture and how we all work together at S.S. Rana & Co.

 

Hiring the best to provide the best

 

The talented individuals who make up our organization are recruited from many education and career fields. We look for candidates who can adapt and pivot quickly, in addition to having the skills for the position to which they apply. We hire based on the potential and character of the person, not simply the skill set he or she brings to the table. And we recruit in a wide range of venues to ensure we reach a diverse talent pool.

 

Highlights of our diversity initiatives  

  1. The Firm is committed to providing equal opportunity and promote gender equality and therefore encourage female IP practitioners and paralegals to foray into the mainstream law and legal services. Some of our women friendly initiatives and policies at S.S. Rana & Co. to help women employees manage their careers and family responsibilities more successfully are as follows:

    • No. of Women Employees: We take pride in stating that at present, more than 50% of the lawyers at S.S. Rana & Co. are women. Women also make up for 42% of the total employees.

    • Flexible work schedules: Depending on the requirement of the employee, the facility of flexible work timings has been extended to several women employees for reasons including health issues, family commitments, after maternity leave for child care, etc.

    • Awareness and Training Programmes: S.S. Rana & Co. periodically conducts workshops/trainings for the awareness of employees. Instances include a workshop on “Financial planning, tax saving and financial security” by a Financial Counselor of repute and a Workshop on “Female Healthcare” by a Doctor from the reputed Sita Ram Bhartia hospital.

    • Maternity and Paternity Leaves: The facility of maternity leave is extended to the employees as a matter of right in our organization. Maternity Leave is given for a minimum of 3 months and more for proper care of child and mother. Besides this, the firm also extends paternity leave for 3 days to all the new fathers in the firm.

    • Corporate Moms: We acknowledge and appreciate working mothers and have awarded them with the title of “Corporate Moms” on the occasion of the Firm’s 25th anniversary on September 1, 2014.

    • Prevention of Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy: The firm also has an Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee in place, headed directly by Mrs. Bindra Rana, Founding Partner. Regular meetings are held by the committee wherein policies are discussed and implemented for providing a safe working environment to our women employees. All the issues are taken up by the committee very tactfully and effectively, maintaining confidentiality at all levels.

  1. IP4kids is the firm’s CSR initiative and is a sensitization program to spread awareness about Intellectual Property Rights amongst the younger generation. Our workshops focus on interactions with students, teachers, and young grassroots innovators, etc. IP4kids received support from WIPO in the form of its publications being distributed at the Innovation Festival 2016, organized by National Science Centre (NSC) at New Delhi in January.

    Additionally, Partners and associates at our firm also actively participate at IP sensitization seminars and conferences organized by organizations such as MSSI (Ministry of Small Scale Industries), PFC (Patent Facilitating Centre), TIFAC, FICCI, CII, WIPO and several educational institute, colleges and universities.

  2. Vidya Darshan Rana Charitable Trust is a registered, non-profit charitable trust set up by the partners of the firm in 2009 to extend financial and non-financial support to grassroot programmes, helping the disadvantaged become self-reliant thereby enabling them to lead a life of dignity. The trusts works in the areas of Education, Health, Sports and Community Development.

With this note S.S. Rana & Co. wishes all its readers

a very warm, fulfilling peaceful and prosperous

New Year 2017 !!

 

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