On Monday (August 23, 2021), the Bombay High Court's division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice NJ Jamadar stayed the Pune police's investigation against the owner of the SonyLIV app, Sony Pictures Network India Pvt Ltd, in a case filed against them. Karad Urban Co-operative Bank (KUCB) filed a FIR alleging trademark infringement in the Scam 1992 series.
The FIR was filed for defamation under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as violations of the Trademarks Act, 1999 and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
SCAM 1992 MAKERS GET RELIEF FROM BOMBAY HIGH COURT
KUCB filed the complaint, claiming that during one of the series' episodes, a logo allegedly resembling the bank's trademark logo was displayed in the background. The allegation was that because the KUCB logo resembled the logo on a calendar behind a character in the web series, it caused serious harm to the bank's 'financial, commercial, and social reputation.'
Shirish Gupta, an advocate for the OTT platform, pointed out that the scene with the logo lasted only 3 seconds. The judges cut him off by saying, "We are not hearing this for the first time. We are only on temporary assistance. What is the purpose of the law?"
Shirish then stated that trademark infringement sections cannot be invoked as it should be for the purpose of trade. "Here there is no trade. This is only a show for the purpose of entertainment," he said.
"An investigation here is being conducted by a police inspector, whereas the power cannot be delegated and must be conducted by a senior officer not lower than the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police under the trademark act," Shirish added.
When the bench asked about the investigating officer, Government pleader J P Yagnik admitted that it was a police inspector who was looking into the case.
"How can the investigation proceed when the law specifies who has the authority to investigate? This is a squandering of investigation resources. Allow the state to reflect. We're putting the investigation on hold, " the bench said.
Applause Entertainment's producers, represented by advocate Amit Desai, requested that the court record his submission.
"The issue cannot come under the trademark offence in a web series because it is not good," he said, "We're not in the business of selling calendars with that logo on them. It was merely a set prop. And this was previously decided by a Bombay High Court bench that included Justice Shinde himself."
The bench has decided to finally hear the case on September 17,2021.
THE ENTIRE STORY OF SCAM 1992
Scam 1992, directed by Hansal Mehta, is based on the true storey of stockbroker Harshad Mehta, who committed the 1992 Indian stock market scam, which resulted in a market crash.Pratik Gandhi, Sharib Hashmi, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Hemant Kher, and Nikhil Dwivedi star in the lead roles. It is currently available on SonyLIV. The Scam: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Away was a film adaptation of the book The Scam: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Away.