A world economy left in ruins by the Coronavirus pandemic has forced policy makers to take one (or a hundred) steps back to reassess their approach to building a sustainable future – starting with creating a more resilient economy and infrastructure. The national commercial law space has notably undergone a striking upheaval with the focus now placed on surviving rather than profiting. With companies focused on advancing technologies to tide over this crisis, intellectual property rights have been pushed to the forefront, and international players have optimistically come together more than ever before.
In keeping with this spirit, we hope that through this blog we can encourage discourse on these three crucial areas of law: Commercial Law, Intellectual Property Rights and International Law, as we adapt, together, to the dynamics of a fast evolving world.
The incorporation of a company takes place under the Companies Act, 2013. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs issued a notice on 22nd July 2021 amending the Companies (Incorporation) Rules, 2014. Changes have been made concerning the allotment of a new name to an existing company under Section 16 of the Act. One of the requisites of the section upon which a company has to change its name is that the government might direct so if its name is identical with or nearly resembles the name of an existing company. In case such a direction is issued, the same has to be implemented by the company concerned within three months. If the company fails to change its name within the specified time, according to the new rules, the tag of ‘ORDNC’ (Order of Regional Director Not Complied) would be attached to the name of the company and the year of the passing of the direction, the serial number and the existing Corporate Identity Number (CIN) of the company shall become the new name of the company.
The Supreme Court has declined to entertain a public interest litigation that declares that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) cannot act as an appellant authority to the decisions of the top court and finds flaws so as to circumvent the rule of law let down. Justices DY Chandrachud and M R Shah stated that the petition is clearly not maintainable and will not be entertained under Article 32. The PIL was filed by one Ashok Surana. Surana had submitted that the NCLT has misinterpreted the judgement of the Apex Court and hence the invocation of the jurisdiction under Article 32 is sought to be justified.
Amazon’s recently-announced launch of Intellectual Property Accelerator aims at providing IP-related services to sellers on the e-commerce website. It has roped in IP experts and law firms for guiding sellers including those with small and medium-scale enterprises to seek professional help in order to secure trademarks, protect their brand identity, and in case of infringement issues. This scheme has been made available in the US, Europe, Japan, Mexico, and Canada since 2019.
The President of BCCI, Saurabh Ganguly recently approached the Bombay High Court seeking enforcement of an arbitral award, through an order passed by an arbitral tribunal in the year 2018. The amount of the award is estimated over Rs. 35 crore, in a tussle with his former management companies, Percept Talent Management Ltd and Percept D Mark (India) Ltd. The issue was referred to arbitration, the crux of which lies in a ‘Player Representation Agreement’, which required both the companies to do justice to their responsibilities as ‘Exclusive Manager’ for the former Indian Cricket Team Captain. The Company stands terminated shortly after the dispute came into the limelight. Saurabh Ganguly invoked the arbitration clause of the deal and is now pleading the court that the company’s assets be disclosed. He also claims that the company regularly siphoned off money from their official accounts to other private firms, in addition to claiming that the original amount owed to him was more than Rs. 35 crore, referring to the Rs. 14 crore, the original compensation with an interest rate
Ten long years later, in mid-June this year, Venus Remedies has won its legal battle against a French firm SCR Pharmatop for producing paracetamol solution that can be administered intravenously in India. The crucial role of drugs such as paracetamol in controlling fever and inflammation during a pandemic was highlighted in this case. In 2011, Venus Remedies opposed the patent, which was revoked in 2018. As a reaction to this, the French firm moved the Delhi HC and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, for which a hearing was arranged again. The final decision was given by the Indian Patent Office, which upheld and maintained the revocation.
A voluntary license, which is given by one already holding a patent, to a company in order to produce/manufacture a drug has been issued to various Indian manufacturers during the time of the current pandemic. Apart from vaccines such as Sputnik V and Covishield, five other drugs’ deals have been given away by their respective original patent holders for better marketing and production purposes which include Remdesivir belonging to Gilead Sciences and Tocilizumab by Roche, another belonging to Merck, among others.