You have been involved in a number of landmark judgments in India. Are there any that stand out as a particular highlight and if so, why?
The Glenfiddich case against McDowell was a great order for protecting trade dress in India, while the Bandit Queen case was the first of its kind, where a female bandit called Phoolan Devi received protection for her right of privacy – this resulted in the deletion of certain portions of the film Bandit Queen. The Amar Nath Sehgal case involved the Vigyan Bhawan Mural, which had been distorted by the Indian government – the sculptor was protected through his moral rights of integrity. Najma Heptulla v Orient Longman focused on an historical autobiography, where certain secretive pages were released. The case brought up interesting questions of joint authorship under the Copyright Law.
More recently, Roche v Cipla and Merck v Glenmark were final orders after trial protecting pharmaceutical patents. Philips v Bhagirathi was India’s first standard-essential patent case and recognised principles such as fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing; it resulted in an award of damages to the plaintiff for its DVD patent. The John Richard Brady case recognised that breach of confidentiality is a separate tort capable of being protected, even if there is no contract and that the copyright in drawings can be infringed by 3D reproduction. Philips v Amaze Store developed the law on damages by recognising not only compensatory and punitive damages but also aggravated damages, reconciling English and Indian law. Finally, the Christian Louboutin case protected the famous red sole as a position trademark, while a second case from the same plaintiff developed the law on intermediary liability, restraining rogue websites.
You were also awarded the National Innovation Foundation Award in recognition of your pro bono work for grassroots, rural innovators. Why is this work important and how can other IP professionals support similar causes?
The programme has covered rural innovations such as the Bamboo Cycle, an amphibious cycle that can move on water and land. It also supports other low-cost agricultural implements. We have been involved in filing patents on a pro bono basis for the rural innovators. This is important because the majority of the Indian population lives in rural areas and is unaware of the Patent Law. This exercise was thus designed to create awareness of the protections available among the rural Indian population.
How have client demands changed over recent years – both domestically and from overseas – and what impact has this had on your practice?
Stiff competition means that clients now demand higher quality, lower costs and rapid delivery. Even when there is no conflict of interest, sometimes it is worth taking the pain of refusing certain types of work as a mark of loyalty to existing clients or to take a stand on an issue or principle of law (eg, to demonstrate that you are pro-innovators as opposed to supporting manufacturers of generics).
Anand and Anand has taken a particularly creative approach to developing IP concepts and products in the past. How can law firms better foster innovation?
Apart from protecting the interests of your clients and, of course, your own firm’s interests, it is crucial to develop the law in a healthy way so as to train people, particularly students, and to help with legislative and policy work. Fostering innovation, developing a deep respect for creativity and building a culture where good ideas are both applauded and rewarded are all part of that.
What do you think the future of brand protection will look like in light of recent global events?
Branding on the Internet will become increasingly important as companies shift a greater proportion of their strategies online. Simple things like widely protected domain names, quality websites and blogs, as well as building digital skills and increasing your social media presence, will all be essential.
Pravin Anand is managing partner at Anand and Anand with over 40 years’ experience in IP litigation and dispute resolution. His recent landmark cases include Pioneer Overseas Corporation (DNA testing in plant varieties); Philips v Amazestore (aggravated damages); Philips v Rajesh Bansal (India’s first post-trial standards-essential patent judgment); and Merck v Glenmark (first patent lawsuit decided in the plaintiff’s favour post-trial). Mr Anand has featured in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame and the Financial Times’ “Most Innovative Lawyer – Asia Pacific” and has been honoured by IBLJ, Managing Intellectual Property, World Trademark Review, WWL, Chambers, WIP and IAM.
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