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Current Affairs 21 January 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Violation of trademark
  2. Caller Name Presentation (CNAP)
  3. Hybrid Immunity
  4. Debt ceiling

Violation of Trademark


Context:

Recently, Delhi High Court ruled that a ‘sub’ is not only a sandwich from Subway, and dismissed a case of trademark infringement brought by the global fast food chain against Suberb, a Delhi-based restaurant. The term ‘sub’ is widely used for submarine sandwiches — a cylindrical bread roll slit lengthwise and filled .

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a trademark?
  2. What is the dispute?
  3. Court’s verdict
  4. About Intellectual Property Right

What is a trademark?

  • A trademark is a symbol, design, word or phrase that is identified with a business. When a trademark is registered, its owner can claim “exclusive rights” on its use.
  • The Trademark Act,1999, governs the regime on trademark and its registration.
  • The Act guarantees protection for a trademark that is registered with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, also known as the trademark registry.
  •  A trademark is valid for 10 years, and can be renewed by the owner indefinitely every 10 years.
Violation of trademark
  • Using a registered trademark without authorisation of the entity that owns the trademark is a violation or infringement of the trademark.
  • Using a substantially similar mark for similar goods or services could also amount to infringement.
  • In such cases, courts have to determine whether this can cause confusion for consumers between the two.

Ways in which a trademark can be infringed

Deceptive Similarity:

  • The law states that a mark is considered deceptively similar to another mark if it nearly resembles that other mark, confusing the consumer in the process.
  • Such deception can be caused phonetically, structurally or visually.

Passing Off:

  • Say, a brand logo is misspelt in a way that’s not easy for the consumer to discern. In such cases, the infringing products need not be identical — but similarity in the nature, character, and performance of the goods of the rival traders has to be established.
    • Cadila Healthcare Limited vs Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited, 2001: Essentially, for a claim of ‘passing off’, some form of deception, misrepresentation, or harm to goodwill and reputation to the owner of a mark has to be established.
  • The Supreme Court has said that passing off is a “species of unfair trade competition or of actionable unfair trading by which one person, through deception, attempts to obtain an economic benefit of the reputation which other has established for himself in a particular trade or business”.

About Intellectual Property Right

  • Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
  • Intellectual property right (IPR) is the right given to persons over the creations of their minds: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
  • They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
  • These rights are outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions.
Protection
  • IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.
  • By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.

Where was intellectual property first recognized?

  • The importance of intellectual property was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886).
  • Both treaties are administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

How are intellectual property rights classified?

Intellectual property rights can be divided into two main sections:

Copyright and rights related to copyright:

  • The rights of authors of literary and artistic works are protected by copyright.
  • These works are books and other writings, paintings, sculptures.
  • Even computer programs, films and music are included.
  • It is valid for a minimum period of 50 years after the death of the author.

Industrial property: It can be divided into 2 main sections-

Related to signs- trademarks and geographical indications.

Trademark:

  • A trademark is a symbol, phrase, or insignia that is recognizable and represents a product that legally separates it from other products.
  • A trademark is exclusively assigned to a company, meaning the company owns the trademark so that no others may use or copy it. A trademark is often associated with a company’s brand.

Geographical Indications

  • Geographical Indications (GIs) recognize a good as originating in a place.
  • Some specific characteristics of the good is related to its geographical origin.
  • The protection may last indefinitely.
  • The only point is that the sign-in question should continue to be unique and distinctive.
Industrial designs and trade secrets-
  • Some types of industrial property are protected primarily for innovation and design.
  • Also, protection of particular technology should be also included.
  • Inventions (protected by patents), industrial designs and trade secrets are essential examples of this category.
  • A trade secret is a company’s process or practice that is not public information, which provides an economic benefit or advantage to the company or holder of the trade secret.
    • Trade secrets must be actively protected by the company and are typically the result of a company’s research and development.

-Source: Indian Express


Caller Name Presentation (CNAP)


Context:

Telecom operators have said that a proposal by the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) of India to display callers’ names could have privacy implications. The proposal, called Caller Name Presentation (CNAP), will also be difficult to execute from a technical perspective given that a number of phones in the Indian market may not be able to support it.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Caller Name Presentation (CNAP)?
  2. Privacy Concerns
  3. Technical Challenges
  4. About TRAI

What is Caller Name Presentation (CNAP)?

  • The feature will allow users to know the identity of the person calling them.
  • The basic idea is that if people are aware of the person who is calling them, they can make an informed choice about those calls.
  • At the same time, such a feature could potentially help in curbing harassment and other spam calls.
  • Currently, there are some applications which offer a similar service, for instance, Truecaller.
  • However, all of them are third-party apps and depend on crowd-sourced data. There is no unifying solution offered by telecom operators.
Possible methods through which the CNAP feature can be rolled out:
  • First model includes telcos managing a CNAP database of their respective subscribers and when its user makes a call to a user on another network, extract their data from the database and present it to the receiving telco’s user. However, telcos will have to upgrade their current “network nodes” to enable this model, TRAI said.
  • Second model is similar to the first one except that in this case, the operator through which the call is made will permit the receiving operator to access its CNAP database.
  • Third model, TRAI has envisaged a third party operating a centralised database. In this case, the receiving operator would be responsible to delve into the centralised database to retrieve and present the caller’s data.
  • Fourth model would require that each telco retain a copy of a synchronised central database operated by a third party.

Privacy Concerns:

Control of Data:

  • Handset manufacturers and Operating System (OS) providers have control over the data obtained through the CNAP facility, which could result in the breach of subscriber data privacy as the manufacturers of mobile devices and OS providers would amass subscriber data for the entire country.

Privacy and Confidentiality:

  • Building up the name and mobile number database as is in the Aadhaar database, with 3rd parties, would be the biggest concern related to privacy and confidentiality of the entire country’s subscriber information.

Social and Criminal Issues:

  • Presentation of a user’s name at the time of calling can lead to various social and criminal issues, such as increased social media stalking.
  • Therefore, it is imperative that the consent of the customer is taken before activating CNAP service on his/her device.

Impact on Women:

  • The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) pointed out that women in particular could be the most vulnerable, as the service will display a woman subscriber’s name and data, to every calling party whether or not she consents to it.

Balancing User Privacy:

  • Bharti Airtel said that user privacy would have to be balanced while rolling out CNAP, and proposed using predictive analytics to weed out users who misuse personal mobile numbers for commercial purposes.
  • The caller ID system “should be considered only for telemarketer/ commercial users / A2P callers in the initial phase”.

Privacy Concerns of the Calling Party:

  • Vodafone Idea said, “Though CNAP will be a step towards protecting the right of the called party to identify the caller against spamming, it will conflict with the privacy concern of the calling party who may not want to flash his/her name onto the screen of the called party”.

Technical Challenges

  • Time-division multiplexing (TDM) based interconnection between telcos does not support CNAP.
  • No standards for CNAP over 2G/3G networks and hence, there is no ready solution available for it.
  • Extensive testing required before being assured of proper working.
  • Certain legacy nodes in the member network, where it would not be feasible to deploy CNAP.
  • Not all handsets are capable of supporting CNAP functionalities.
  • No definitive record of feature phones being enabled with the CNAP feature.
  • Smart feature phones working on 4G networks also do not support this feature.

About TRAI:

  • In 1997, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, created the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has its headquarters in New Delhi.
  • Two full-time members, two part-time members, and the chairperson of the TRAI are all chosen by the Indian government.
Functions of TRAI:
  • The function of the TRAI is to make recommendations to the central government on matters related to service providers, Revocation of license for non-compliance , Measures to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in the operation of telecommunication services to facilitate their growth etc.
  • Laying down the standards of quality of service to be provided by the service providers.
  • Timely and officially notifying the rates at which the telecommunication services within India and outside India shall be provided under the TRAI Act, 1997.
  • The recommendations of the TRAI are not binding upon the Central Government.
Powers of TRAI:
  • It can call upon any service provider to furnish in writing the information or explanation relating to its affairs as the Authority may require.
  • The Authority may appoint one or more persons to make an inquiry in relation to the affairs of any service provider.
  • It is empowered to direct any of its officers or employees to inspect the books of accounts or other documents of any service provider.
  • The Authority shall have the power to issue such directions to service providers as it may consider necessary for proper functioning by service providers.

-Source: Indian Express


Hybrid Immunity


Context:

A recent study in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases held that “hybrid immunity” provides better protection against severe Covid-19, while all immunity against a re-infection wane within a few months.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Hybrid Immunity?
  2. Key Findings of the Study

What is Hybrid Immunity?

  • Hybrid immunity is a combination of natural protection and immunity provided by a vaccine. It is believed to provide stronger protection than either infection or vaccination alone.
  • In the case of Covid-19, hybrid immunity is when someone has recovered from a Covid infection before getting vaccinated.

Key Findings of the Study:

Increased Protection:

  • A hybrid immunity offers a higher magnitude and durability of protection compared to infection alone, highlighting the importance of vaccination.
  • However, with the spread of more transmissible variants, more people are developing this hybrid immunity.

Efficacy of Hybrid Immunity:

  • Protection against severe disease and hospitalizations from a Sars-CoV-2 infection alone was found to be 82.5% at three months after the last shot or infection.
  • This protection stood at 74.6% at 12 months and 71.6% at 15 months.
  • Protection against reinfection declined faster, standing at 65.2% at three months and dropping to 24.7% at 12 months and 15.5% at 15 months.

Comparison with Vaccination:

  • In comparison, hybrid immunity with just the primary vaccine doses was found to be 96% at three months and 97.4% at 12 months.
  • The same can offer 69% protection against reinfection at three months, dropping to 41.8% at 12 months.
  • The effectiveness of hybrid immunity gained from infection coupled with the primary as well as a booster dose stood at 97.2% at three months and 95.3% at six months.

Implications:

  • It can be used to tailor guidance on the number and timing of SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations.
  • In regions with high Sars-CoV-2 sero-prevalence, the primary vaccination – focused mainly on those at the highest risk of severe disease such as the old or co-morbid – can offer high protection against severe disease and hospitalization for at least one year.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express


Debt Ceiling


Context:

Recently, The United States hit its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion, forcing the Treasury Department to initiate “extraordinary measures” to ensure that the federal government keeps paying its bills and can stave off default until June — when it will run out of funds.

Relevance

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the debt ceiling?
  2. Consequences of Breaching the Debt Ceiling
  3. Previous Incidents

What is the debt ceiling?

  • The debt ceiling is the maximum amount that the US federal government can borrow to fulfill its financial obligations. It was established in 1917 during World War I.
  • As the government spends more than it earns through taxes and other revenues, it needs to borrow money to pay for expenses, such as social security and Medicare benefits, and the salaries of US military service members.
  • In 2021, this borrowing limit was raised to $31.4 trillion.
Consequences of Breaching the Debt Ceiling
  • Default: The Treasury Secretary warns that if the debt limit is not raised by a certain date, the government will default on its debt, which may trigger an economic catastrophe.
  • Impact on the economy: Failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the US economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability. This would result in the weakening of the dollar, collapse of stock markets, and loss of jobs, and future investors demanding higher interest rates.
Previous Incidents
  • No breach: The US has never breached the debt ceiling so far. However, experts suggest that even approaching debt default might severely impact the economy in the longer run.
  • 2011 incident: In 2011, congressional Republicans and then President Barack Obama fought a prolonged, bruising battle over the debt ceiling that continued until just before the deadline for action ran out. Even so, ratings agency Standard & Poors downgraded the country’s credit rating for the first time, which made it more costly for the US federal government to borrow money thereafter.

-Source: Indian Express


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