This year you are being inducted into the IP Hall of Fame Academy, having been selected from a longlist of nominees put forward by the global IP community. What does such recognition mean to you?
I was overwhelmed to receive this recognition and am full of gratitude towards the people and forces that have propelled me towards this achievement.
I also feel that a big challenge lies ahead of me and, irrespective of the expectations of others, I must continue to keep up the work for which I was recognised, at the same level of intensity.
At a third level, it gives me confidence that what I have been doing and believing in is the right way to proceed.
You have been hailed as a “trailblazer of Indian IP”, having won the largest-ever Indian damages awards in a trademark dispute as well as the country’s first Anton Piller order, among other achievements. What has been the key to your success over the years?
Forty-two years of constant IP strategising, enforcement and litigation is a long time, and the solutions, or path-breaking orders, are quite evenly spread out over this period, covering almost every aspect of intellectual property. But, in all of this, there is a common thread, which is the legal protection for creators from authors and script writers to actors, musicians, singers, artists, to inventors, software engineers and businesses promoting their brand in the physical world and on the Internet, in trying to fight counterfeiters with limited budgets available to them in smart and strategic ways that aim both to succeed and to deter. Creators need full support, and therein lies the central philosophy of my career thus far.
With clients ranging from luxury brands to celebrities, pharma to technology and art to entertainment, what are the three key skills that brand owners look for in a top-level IP firm?
Obviously, domain knowledge is the most important skill, as there are some techniques, strategies and approaches that work, while others fall flat on their face.
A second skill is the ability to manage time and speed up solutions, as everybody wants a quick result.
The third is to treat clients sensitively, that is, not as vehicles to your own profit, but as people in need of help and support so that their creative talents flourish.
In July 2021, following the controversial abolition of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, the Delhi High Court announced the creation of an Intellectual Property Division. Almost a year on, how has this affected IP litigation in India?
More judgments are issued by the court on a daily basis, shorter dates are given and tighter timelines are followed. In matters where issues are similar, they are heard together. The courts have developed a resolution-oriented approach, and therefore there is faster disposal of procedural disputes, speedier conclusions to uncontested matters, or clear cases of IP infringement and awarding of summary judgments. Time limitation is imposed for oral arguments and substantive hearings, with almost no adjournments. Even 20-year-old matters have been taken up and settled in favour of the IP owner.
There is much talk of brands going virtual. What steps should brand owners be considering right now to protect their intangible assets in the developing metaverse?
To protect their assets on the Internet and in particular in the developing metaverse, brand owners need to understand the latter as a starting point. Their trademark registrations or newer applications must cover the trademark when used in digital space. They must also know how to search or investigate infringements in the metaverse. Finally, owners could try, if feasible, to establish a presence in the metaverse – not that it is necessary, but it would certainly help to augment their rights. Doing so would show a bona fide intention to be present in the digital space, and would go a long way in persuading judges to protect their mark.
Pravin Anand is managing partner and head of litigation at Anand and Anand. He has appeared in over 2,500 cases in over 43 years’ practice as an IP lawyer and has been a counsel in several landmark cases. Mr Anand is the first Indian to receive the AIPPI Award of Merit, INTA’s President’s Award, be inducted in IAM IP Hall of Fame 2022 and recognised as “Most Innovative Lawyer” for Asia Pacific by the Financial Times.