Intellectual Property Laws
Intellectual Property Laws
Our intellectual property law practice encompasses licensing, assignment, royalty negotiation and giving opinions on business models involving diverse intellectual property rights relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs, geographical indications, semiconductor chip layout-designs and trade secrets.
In the copyright domain, we draft, review and vet licensing agreements and assignment deeds. We specialize in software copyrights and licensing agreements. We have advised clients on complex issues such as open source licensing, protection of source code within the GNU General Public License and thin client computing OS infringement issues.
A few intellectual property related issues handled by us:
- We advised a software start-up on isolating and creating intellectual property on its source code within the allowed parameters of the GNU general public license.
- We advised an online business on the legality of using animated celebrity Avatars in their business.
- We advised a mobile content provider on securing rights to music to be distributed as ring tones in mobile phones.
- We advised a bulk importer of thin client personal computers on thin client operating system licensing issues.
- We advised a software company on distribution licenses for their software programs to be used as firmware and as OEM distributions in other products.
Domain names are indispensable tools in business. Legal disputes involving domain names of several big corporate houses including Casio, Tata and Shell, to name a few indicate the commercial importance of domain names. Our name domain name practice involves advising on domain acquisition strategies and representations before ICANN in case of domain name disputes.
We recently defended one of our Bangalore based clients successfully in a WIPO mediated online arbitration for a domain dispute initiated by an internationally recognized U.S. based Institute.
The case was particularly noteworthy because it is not often that all members of a three-member WIPO Arbitration Panel unanimously reject a complainant's claim to a domain despite that domain name incorporating the complainant's service mark.
The U.S. based Complainant, an internationally recognised certifying body for the human resources industry, provides certification to aspirants passing the Complainant's exams. The Complainant registered the service mark in 2004.
Respondent, promoter of an education and training company, is based in India. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name in 2008, using it to host a website offering online preparatory courses for certification exams conducted by the Complainant. Respondent's domain name incorporated, in part, the service mark registered by the Complainant.
Essentially, the Complainant alleged that unlicensed, commercial use of its service mark by Respondent in the domain name amounts to unfair and unjustified exploitation of the service mark.
The Panel, in its decision, agreed with our analysis and declared that the scope of ICANN's Dispute Resolution Policy under which the Complainant had filed the Complaint is not wide. The Policy was designed to deal with a relatively narrow form of dispute between trade mark (and service mark) proprietors and domain name registrants.
Thus, as long as Respondent's use of the domain name is legitimate (which, according to our evidence and contentions, the Panel accepted it was), whether or not the Respondent's use of the Domain Name constitutes trade mark/service mark infringement is outside the scope of the Policy.
It was on the basis of this fine distinction that the Complaint was rejected.
You can find the decision of the WIPO arbitration panel here: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2010/d2010-0291.html