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Intellectual Property


When a well-known mark is adopted by someone other than the registered proprietor, a consumer of average intelligence and imperfect recollection might consider it an extension of the brand. This can result in a dilution of the goodwill and reputation enjoyed by the well-known trademark, which in turn can lead to confusion and deception. This issue was recenty addressed in a hearing before the Chennai IP Appellate Board.

In March 2008 the Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court declined to grant an interim injunction to Roche against Cipla and its production of the drug Erlotinib. Instead, the court found in favour of Cipla's claim of patent invalidity and took into account the public interest in the drug. On appeal, the matter was heard by the Division Bench of the High Court.

Section 95 of the Trademarks Act 1999 prescribes certain conditions that must be met before interim orders are handed out in appeal proceedings. In a recent case before the Ahmedabad IP Appellate Board these conditions were the subject of consideration.

Swiss drug major F Hoffman-La Roche has successfully defeated post-grant oppositions filed by pharmaceutical major Wockhardt and Mumbai-based civil society group Sankalp to secure a patent for its hepatitis drug Pegasys. Thus, Pegasys has become the first drug to obtain a product patent since the new patent regime became operational in 2005.

Geographical indications reflect the legislature's attempt to protect traditional art forms and products which have certain unique characteristics that are specific to a region or locality, or which owe their origins to that region. India has a rich wealth of traditional arts, crafts and food products which deserve protection. As such, more and more items are being added to the Geographical Indications Registry.

Although the Copyright Act 1957 provides an inclusive definition of the term 'literary works', it does not set down which works are deemed to be literary. However, the explanatory notes state that the term includes all works expressed in writing, regardless of literary merit. Thus, the definition is not exhaustive and all literary works satisfying the criterion of originality are entitled to protection.

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In a dispute over the infringement of copyright in Dififile software, interesting questions arose as to whether the Indian courts have the power to prevent a person from pursuing lawfully instituted proceedings and whether such an injunction would amount to staying the proceedings of that court.