Shwetasree Majumder

What has been your most memorable case to date and why?

My favourite win to date came when we thwarted the genericide challenge to Xerox Corporation’s trademarks and, in the same breath, succeeded in getting Xerox declared as a well-known trademark. This victory signifies the types of cases I enjoy the most – those with no precedent or blueprint. It also involved new jurisprudence for India, and I had the opportunity to do a lot of out-of-the-box thinking.

We are currently in the midst of India’s first ever IP case concerning NFTs – I hope to share more soon.

You have recently commenced your term on INTA’s first ever DEI Council. What is your view of DEI’s importance in the workplace?

DEI is the cornerstone of our firm’s identity, although sadly, Indian law firms are simply not looking seriously enough at DEI issues. In India, many women practise intellectual property, so it is not enough to pinkwash the issue with those metrics. Of the fee earners in our firm, 70% are women but we refuse to be content with that. Over the last two years, we have started a practice of affirmative action, offering special consideration for minority candidates in our hiring practices. We give the term ‘minority’ the broadest possible amplitude, including caste, sexual and economic minorities, disadvantaged and disabled candidates and those who are neurodivergent. We are constantly training and upskilling ourselves on inclusion and have rewritten all of our policies to reflect an updated understanding. Law firms in India should do more to acknowledge and address toxic work cultures that do not foster minority, gender and sexual identities. It is 2023, and you still hear horror stories of women being laid off during maternity leave or rampant sexual harassment (both overt and covert).

IP infringement continues to be rampant in India. What are your top tips for taking infringers to court – and why is it an effective strategy?

IP infringement in India has evolved – many infringers moved online during the pandemic. Today, rogue/phishing websites that either mirror genuine websites or offer deals, jobs, franchises or products and then disappear with consumers’ data and money are rampant. Add counterfeiters to that mix, and we have several problems to solve. Whenever we file a lawsuit on any of these issues, we try to do something incrementally different each time. For example, we have undertaken hybrid actions involving court-supervised police investigations and obtained John Doe orders to ensure that future iterations of the same entity are also addressed without the need for a whack-a-mole approach. The Delhi High Court, in particular, has adapted very well to changing technology, making IP enforcement solutions through civil suits expansive in scope and creative in implementation. Lawyers need to upskill themselves on global developments and on-the-ground realities to stay ahead of infringers.

Which recent decisions or legislative developments have had the biggest impact on trademark strategy in India over the past 12 months and why?

The two most important IP-related developments in India were the abolishment of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the formation of the IP division in our courts to hear all suits and appeals from the Indian Patent and Trademark Office (IPTO). Justice in IP cases is now attained much faster, and the constant court supervision has helped to move things along at the IPTO as well. The specialist IP division with dedicated judges has significantly improved the quality of IP litigation, particularly at the Delhi High Court, which has been the frontrunner in this regard.

How have your clients’ needs evolved in response to India’s rapid economic growth in recent years, and how have you adapted your strategy to manage them?

Regardless of the industry, intellectual property is taken much more seriously now and no longer an afterthought. Strategists like us now have a seat at the table from the time M&As are planned to when the blueprints for diversification are drawn up. The litigation strategy needs to be aligned with commercial priorities, technological developments and potential legislative changes. The ability to have a 360-degree worldview is both demanded and appreciated.

Shwetasree Majumder

Managing Partner
[email protected]

Shwetasree Majumder is managing partner of Fidus Law Chambers. Her practice spans litigation, policy and strategy in IP, technology, advertising and trade secret matters and she has been involved in over 500 litigations in Indian courts. Ms Majumder was elected to INTA’s board of directors from 2013-2015, currently serves on INTA’s first ever DEI Council and is an UDRP panellist with WIPO.

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