Advisory issued Regarding ‘Misleading Advertisement’- CCPAThe Central Consumer Protection Authority (“CCPA”), on January 20, 2021 has issued an advisory regarding misleading advertisements that has been introduced in the newly enacted Consumer Protection Act 2019.
India: INR 1K Crore ‘Start-Up India Seed Funds’ AnnouncedHon’ble Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi while addressing the ‘Prarambh: Start-up India International Summit’, on January 16, 2021 announced seed.
USTR Notorious Markets List 2021 for Counterfeiting and PiracyThe 2020 Review of USTR Notorious Markets List for Counterfeiting and Piracy (hereinafter referred to as “NML”) released by the Office of United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) emphasizes on physical
Supreme Court mandates use of A4 size instead of green color legal paperThe Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in a recent circular has directed the use of A4 size papers instead of green color legal papers.
Copyright- Application for Change in Particulars- OnlineThe Copyright Office in its recent Public Notice dated December 17, 2020 has notified introduction of e-filing facility for “Registration
Advisory issued Regarding ‘Misleading Advertisement’- CCPA
The Central Consumer Protection Authority (“CCPA”), on January 20, 2021 has issued an advisory regarding misleading advertisements that has been introduced in the newly enacted Consumer Protection Act (‘Act’), 2019. The sole purpose of the enforcement of the Act is to focus on matters concerning the rights of the consumers, not only in terms of pricing and/or quality but also in terms of the knowledge of the consumer about the product.
The CCPA has observed that numerous manufacturers/commercial establishments have been involved in the practice of misleading advertisements. As per the CCPA such players have released misleading advertisements through the medium of print and electronic media with the sole reason to promote and boost consumer products, claiming that ‘it boosts immunity’, ‘kills 99.99% germ’, virus killing’, etc., without corroborating the same with any scientific credibility, taking an advantage of the unfortunate pandemic.
The CCPA gave emphasis to Section 2 (28) of the Act, which reads as follows:
Section 2 (28) – “misleading advertisement” in relation to any product or service, means an advertisement, which –
- falsely describes such product or service; or
- gives a false guarantee to, or is likely to mislead the consumers as to the nature, substance, quantity or quality of such product or service; or
- conveys an express or implied representation which, if made by the manufacturer or seller or service provider thereof, would constitute an unfair trade practice; or
- deliberately conceals important information;
In order to tackle the issue of misleading advertisement, the CCPA has set out the punishment of the offense under Section 89 of the Act that includes both imprisonment and fine. It has been claimed by the CCPA that “anyone violating Section 2 (28) will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 89 of the Act, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees”.
Misleading ads have been on the rise in the past few decades in almost all sectors. The Judiciary has innumerable times been confronted with issues of misleading ads. The current whip on the advertisers was the need of the hour as advertisers have taken undue advantage of the vulnerable situation in the wake of pandemic and tried to lure consumers by false, incredible and baseless claims.
India: INR 1K Crore ‘Start-Up India Seed Funds’ Announced
Hon’ble Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi while addressing the ‘Prarambh: Start-up India International Summit’, on January 16, 2021 announced seed fund worth Rs. 1,000-crore to support Start-ups in India and remarked that Start-up helps in raising initial funding and generating job opportunities, thus improving lives of people.
Shri Modi also stated that this initiative by the Government of India will help new Start-ups to grow and also encourage innovations. Further, the two-day Prarambh Summit marked the 5th anniversary of the ‘Startup India Initiative’ which was launched by PM Modi in 2016. Moving ahead, the central government will provide guarantees in order to help the start-ups raise equity capital. Adding to it, Shri Modi claimed that “A start-up ecosystem will be created in India which will be based on the fundamental principle of the youth, by the youth & for the youth.”
Modi exuded that India is a home to 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world. In India, there are more than 41,000 start-ups out of which IT sector alone has more than 5,700 start-ups. There are 3,600 start-ups present in health sector and nearly 1,700 start-ups operating in agriculture sector. Modi claimed that the ‘demographic characteristics of businesses’ are being changed by the start-ups.
Through the Government e-Marketplace portal, the local start-ups have been put at par with the big companies wherein they are authorized to participate in government tenders with them. It was also stated by Shri Modi in his speech that nearly Rs, 2,300 crore has been collected from registering 8,000 start-ups on the portal and operating businesses by these start-ups.
Nearly 10 start-ups operating in sectors ranging from beauty payments, recently in 2020, turned unicorn as against 9 in 2019. He further praised the start-ups for coming up with innovative solutions during pandemic. This step introduced by PM Modi will certainly support the Start-up ecosystem in India and sustain Central Government’s efforts towards normalizing economic activities post COVID-19 pandemic.
USTR Notorious Markets List 2021 for Counterfeiting and Piracy
The 2020 Review of USTR Notorious Markets List for Counterfeiting and Piracy (hereinafter referred to as “NML”) released by the Office of United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) emphasizes on physical & online markets facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. The NML attempts to highlight markets, online and physical, involved in counterfeiting and piracy and hence, aims to encourage necessary actions by the government and private sectors against such illegal practices.
The NML has identified 34 physical markets and 39 online markets that are reported to have facilitated substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. Moreover, for the first time, it focuses on the role of internet platforms in facilitating the importation of pirated and counterfeit goods into the United States.
E-Commerce and the Role of Internet Platforms in Importation of Counterfeit Goods
The current issue of NML takes in focus and examines the issue pertaining to the effect of the substantial growth of e-commerce platforms in recent years on the substantial growth in the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods into the United States. The current issue seeks to analyze as to how such a growth has resulted in a similar pattern of growth in the United States.
E-commerce platforms has made it extremely difficult to track counterfeits and pirated goods. As per NML, “On e-commerce platforms, consumers are unknowingly exposed to counterfeit and pirated goods in settings and under conditions that make the articles appear genuine. Consumers are often shopping from the safety of their homes through mainstream online markets that provide an aura of authenticity and trust.” In addition to this, it is believed that even social media platforms have been exploited by sellers involved in counterfeit and pirated goods.
The USTR Robert Lighthizer said that “intellectual property rights violators shall be held accountable and ensuring full & fair right or opportunity to American creators & innovators to use & make profit from their work is critical for online as well as physical markets”. He added, that “the greatest threat of importation of pirated & counterfeit goods, harming the US consumers as well as the content creators, posed by inadequate policies & action by e-commerce companies engaged in selling foreign products to American consumers and not posed by foreign flea markets and dark web sites.
The NML has released multiple examples of players who have been involved in such counterfeit and piracy. A few of the highlighted examples are as follows:
Snapdeal is considered to be one of the biggest e-commerce websites in India, has been featured by the USTR in the NML. According to USTR Notorious Markets List, It continues to be a major concern as Snapdeal finds itself in an enormous pool of counterfeit products. As per the USTR, the volume of counterfeit products on Snapdeal have reportedly increased in the past year, making it a constant concern for the right holders.
- Digital Piracy
The NML also recognizes some platforms like 1337x, FMovies which are major players providing links for torrent files, streaming movies, shows, containing information imperative for downloading other files from the bittorrent distributed peer-to-peer network, for unlicensed movies, TV shows, music, and software. Variants of the site have been subject to blocking orders in several countries including India.
Similarly, the list recognizes UPLOADED for digital piracy. This platform is a popular cyberlocker that operates by numerous redundant domains and provides access to infringing content, including unlicensed digital books, movies, and TV shows. Variants of such site have been blocked in several countries throughout the world including India.
Counterfeit and Piracy in Physical markets
Along with the online market, the issue of counterfeit and piracy continues to expand itself in the physical markets as well. List of a few physical markets involved in such practices are as follows:
- Palika Bazaar, New Delhi
- Heera Panna, Mumbai
- Petaling Street Market, Kuala Lumpur
- Tepito, Mexico City
- Ajman China Mall, Ajman
- Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
The USTR Notorious Markets List further claims that Indian shopping complexes such as Heera Panna in Mumbai sells counterfeit footwear, accessories, watches, apparel and cosmetics. The right holders have warned that counterfeit cosmetics sold at such markets have various health and safety concerns. Kidderpore in Kolkata sells pirated software and media, counterfeit consumer apparel, electronics, cosmetics at cheaper rates. Tank Road in Delhi sells counterfeit products, including footwear & apparel. This market also supplies wholesale counterfeit goods to other markets such as Ajmal Khan Road & Gaffar Market.
It cannot be denied that the internet and online marketplace makes protection of Intellectual Property of goods and services vulnerable and hence augments the incidences of counterfeiting in several ways. A robust mechanism addressing the specific needs of curbing counterfeiting online is the need of the hour.
Supreme Court mandates use of A4 size instead of green color legal paper
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in a recent circular has directed the use of A4 size papers instead of green color legal papers (on both sides print) for all cases as well as Petitions filed before Supreme Court. The Circular enumerates the following:
- To bring uniformity in the use & printing of paper and minimizing consumption of paper, the Hon’ble Court has directed usage of best quality A4 size paper (29.7 cm x 21 cm) having not less than 75 GSM printed on both sides of the paper having Font- Times New Roman, Font size- 14, single & half line spacing (for quotations & indents- Font size is 12 with single line spacing), with margin of 2cm on top & bottom and 4cm on left & right, on all the Petitions, Pleadings, Affidavits or any other documents which would be filed in the Supreme Court;
- The Hon’ble Court has further directed that in accordance with the provisions of Order LIII, Rule 2 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, each communication directed from the Registry of the Court shall only be mailed to the concerned Advocate-on-Record followed by an SMS alert on the registered number of the Advocate-on-Record and thereafter the Registry shall discontinue the practice of sending the communication through hard copy.
- It has also been directed by the Hon’ble Court that the Misc. Applications, Review Petitions, Curative Petitions and Contempt Petitions in disposed of matters may be accepted by the Filing Counter of the Registry by following the existing procedure w.r.t the fresh matters, in the manner of 1+1 (1 set of original papers + 1 paperbook) after curing the defects and the remaining paperbooks shall be filed by the advocates/parties-in-person;
- Where there are more than one volume in a matter then in such a case a common index is to be placed in the first volume and a separate index of each volume is to be placed in the respective volume(s).
The Hon’ble Apex Court’s direction in the matter is a positive effort towards environment protection and conservation. The initiative taken by the Hon’ble Supreme Court will protect the environment from further degradation. Earlier the petitions were drafted on ‘legal papers’, which were bigger than A4 size sheets and only single-sided printing was allowed on the papers.
Copyright- Application for Change in Particulars- Online
The Copyright Office in its recent Public Notice dated December 17, 2020 has notified introduction of e-filing facility for “Registration of Changes in the Particulars of Copyright entered in the Register of Copyrights (FORM XV)”. The e-filing facility is in effect from December 18, 2020. In view thereof, request on FORM XV copyright application for change in particulars can now be filed online.
Where can the request be filed:
A brief guide for filing request on FORM XV can be accessed here.
What are the pre-requisites for filing FORM XV online?
- Registration certificate number and date of issue (Mandatory)
- Evidence of prior intimation of filing of Form XV to the interested/affected person(s), if any.
- Signature to be scanned in jpg format with less then 512 KB and kept ready for uploading
- All the documents to be uploaded in pdf format in less than 5 MB
What are the documents required for filing FORM XV online?
- Original Power of Attorney (POA). [If Applicable]
- Affidavit to the effect that ‘No Case’ is/are pending in any court of law relating to RoC in Question;
- Notarized Copy of Assignment Deeds of Licence, in case the proposed changes are consequential on assignment of Licences copyright; Notarized copy of Assignment Deed/Partnership Deed/Dissolution Deed/Certificate of Incorporation etc;
- Copy of Extract of RoC.
This is a welcome move by the Indian Copyright Office towards digitizing copyright filing procedures. This initiative will make the process of filing FORM XV for change of particulars less time consuming and transparent.