On the 65th birthday of a nation that represents one of the world's oldest civilizations, let me (on behalf of SpicyIP) wish all of you a wonderful independence day.
Rather than pondering the meaning of independence and how our IP offices are still not fully "independent", I thought it might be more interesting to explore the nexus between IP and our freedom fighters i.e. those that helped India break free from the yoke of colonial rule.
Let's start with the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the biggest brand of them all. Not too surprisingly, his trademark image was sought to be used by Montblanc, a leading manufacturer of luxury pens. Unfortunately, in the face of stiff public opposition and a law suit, Montblanc had to roll back its plans to introduce this special series of "Gandhi" pens. In view of the fact that any use of the Mahatma's name or imagery (without due permission) violated a central law (Emblems and Names Act), the matter was finally settled and Montblanc agreed not to sell the pens.
But the name Gandhi cannot remain hidden from the roving eyes of commerce for too long (paradoxical rather, given that the man himself was known to shun all things material). It turns out that a TM application was recently filed in Ecuador for "Arroz Gandhi" (which effectively translates to "Gandhi Rice"). The application was promptly opposed by Lalit Bhasin, a leading lawyer most notably reputed for being the fiercest opponent of foreign law firm entry into India.
Hopefully Shan (one of our bloggers) will being you a more detailed and nuanced discussion on this along with bloggers from the wonderful IPTango (we thought it'd be fun to collaborate with other blogs and churn out articles of interest to both sets of readers).
Second, we have Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, a reputed educationist and freedom fighter, whose book "India Wins Freedom" was embroiled in a major copyright controversy. Well he didn't exactly write it, but therein lay the controversy. He dictated it to another noted educationist (Prof Humayun Kabir) in Urdu, who copiously transcribed all of this thoughts (and more) into English. The dispute naturally turned on "authorship". The Delhi High Court held that in view of the fact that Prof Kabir was more than a mere scribe, the resulting work was one of joint authorship.
This jurisprudence came in somewhat handy when assessing the Chetan Bhagat copyright controversy involving the Bollywood blockbuster "3 idiots". Interestingly enough, Aamir Khan, who produced the movie and played the lead role as well is a direct descendant of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. Speak about linkages!
So there you have it--at least some nexus between IP and our freedom fighters. Needless to add, if you know some interesting connections in this regard, feel free to share in the comments section.