Monday, June 11, 2018

NGT orders closure of 8 industrial units in Uttarakhand's Sitarganj industrial area

 The National Green Tribunal has ordered closure of eight industrial units in Uttarakhand's Sitarganj area after the Central Pollution Control Board found them violating pollution norms.
A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore asked the authorities to shut down Gujarat Ambuja Exports Limited, Fleetguard Filters Pvt Ltd, Speciality Industrial Polymers & Coatings Pvt Ltd, Henken Chembond Surface Ace Tech Ltd, Western Consolidated Pvt Ltd, Balaji Action Buildwell Pvt Ltd, Reckitt and Benkiser Unit 1, and Reckitt and Benkiser Unit 2.
"We order that all these industries shall be shut down immediately. The Collector, Uddam Singh Nagar and Superintendent of Police as well as Member Secretary state pollution control board shall ensure that all these industries are shut down forthwith," the bench said.
The tribunal also directed the CPCB to submit a report with respect to the remaining industries which they have already inspected and submit the analysis report by June 18.
It had earlier directed the CPCB to inspect and take samples from industries located in the vicinity of Uttarakhand village of Siddh Garbyang so that the polluting units can be shut.
The tribunal had earlier appointed senior advocate Raj Panjwani and advocate Meera Gopal to assist it on a complaint of the residents of the Uttarakhand village, alleging discharge of untreated chemical effluents in drains by industries located in the vicinity.
The villagers had contended that there was complete violation of environmental laws and pollution norms by a large number of industries at the SIDCUL industrial park, located in the vicinity of Siddh Garbyang.
Terming the situation as alarming, the bench had directed its registry to register the villagers' letter as a petition and asked the Uttarakhand state pollution control board to inspect the industrial units around the village.
The NGT had issued notices to the Uttarakhand government, District Magistrate of Udham Singh Nagar, state pollution control board, and Managing Director of SIDCUL, and sought their responses.
The state pollution board was directed to identify the industries which were discharging untreated effluent and causing air and ground water pollution. It had also been asked to inform the tribunal on whether the industries were complying with the conditions of environment clearance.
The complainants had said the industrial units were spewing black soot which deposited black dust on the village houses, especially in the morning and evening hours due to which it was difficult for the residents to sit outside their houses or do any work.
"During rainy season, the effluent spread over the agriculture fields and even the tube wells of the village are having coloured water which is not fit for human or animal consumption,"

Sunday, June 10, 2018

NCLT admits SBI’s plea against Videocon Telecommunications

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has admitted the insolvency petition filed by State Bank of India (SBI) against Videocon Telecommunications Ltd. This is the second firm promoted by Venugopal Dhoot to be admitted to the insolvency resolution process after the flagship company Videocon Industries.
On Friday, the division bench of NCLT Mumbai, presided over by B.S.V. Prakash Kumar and Ravikumar Duraisamy, admitted the petition by the country’s largest lender and also approved Anuj Jain as the interim resolution professional (IRP).
Animesh Bisht, counsel for the bank, argued that the company had defaulted in the payment of ₹234 crore to SBI and three of its associate banks (now merged with SBI). Of this, Videocon Telecommunications owes ₹193 crore to SBI alone in principal and interest.
A consortium of 18 banks has an exposure of ₹1,700 crore to Videocon Telecommunications, which defaulted on loans and bank guarantees in January 2018.
Zal Andhyarujina, counsel for Videocon Telecommunications, argued that the bank’s petition is defective, as it has not furnished the record of default by the company and that it should be dismissed on technical grounds. “The debt that is claimed by the bank is not the debt at all,” he said. “No notice was given to the company regarding the default and there was no crystallization of the dues by the bank.”
On Wednesday, NCLT admitted Videocon Industries’ case, also approving Jain as IRP. In February, Videocon had filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court asking for a stay on bankruptcy proceedings initiated by SBI in NCLT. It had moved the high court against the Reserve Bank of India’s decision not to extend the timeline as requested by SBI and the Joint Lenders’ Forum to rerate Videocon’s restructuring proposal following changes in cash flows after subsequent changes in the import duty policy.
As per Videocon’s FY17 annual report, it is liable to repay the liability of other group firms to the extent of ₹5,082 crore as of 31 March 2017. Its total debt was ₹19,506 crore as of March last year.

https://www.livemint.com/Companies/19avCLGjeDeidnyFL7IucO/NCLT-admits-SBIs-plea-against-Videocon-Telecommunications.html

Govt to launch fresh drive against shell companies

Over 225,000 companies and 7,000 limited liability partnerships (LLPs) face the threat of being struck off official records, with the government launching a fresh drive against companies defaulting on filing statutory returns.
The identified companies include entities with no economic activity, called defunct companies, as well as those used for financial irregularities, or shell companies.
A total of 225,910 companies and 7,191 LLPs have been identified for regulatory action due to non-filing of financial statements for the two years starting FY16, the corporate affairs ministry said in a statement. The fresh crackdown will be launched this financial year.
The identified entities will be given an opportunity to be heard and action will be taken after considering their response, said the statement.
In an earlier drive launched in the last financial year, the Registrar of Companies (RoCs) had struck off a total of 226,000 companies for having failed to file their financial statements or annual returns for a period of two or more successive financial years.
More than 300,000 directors were also disqualified for non-filing of annual returns by the companies for three years. Disqualified directors will not be in a position to sit on the boards of other companies.
About 14,000 companies got relief under the ‘condonation of delay scheme, 2018’ which was in force for four months from 1 January for regularization of returns.
The removal of the large number of defaulting entities from the records will clean up the system. However, only a small part of the entities struck off from records may have actually been involved in financial fraud.
A task force set up in 2017 to identify shell companies listed 16,537 entities as “confirmed shell companies”. It also listed 16,739 other entities having common directorships with the confirmed shell companies. The task force has also zeroed in on more than 80,000 suspected shell companies. The agencies use certain parameters to identify shell firms, including identifying persons of no means sitting on the board of directors and finding discrepancies between the volume of transactions done by a company and the profits reported.
Regulatory agencies will pursue cases against officers who are in default of statutory obligations even if the company is no longer in existence.
The crackdown highlights the importance of closing down a company as per law as many defaulting firms may actually be cases of entrepreneurs abandoning their venture and not bothering to close down the company as per law, which makes them defaulters for not filing returns in subsequent years. Also, many entrepreneurs open new companies just to hold their intellectual property rights such as trade marks but miss filing the annual returns as such companies have no operations.
“The government expects that its efforts to clean up the registry will create a transparent and compliant corporate ecosystem in India, promote the cause of ‘ease of doing business’ and enhance the trust of the public,” the official statement explained.
Pavan Kumar Vijay, founder of consulting firm Corporate Professionals, said that entities that are in default should be granted the opportunity to rectify the omissions through a simple procedure. This would ensure that struck off entities will not approach company law tribunals which are already overburdened, Vijay added.
The exercise of combing through records to find defaulters as well as those resorting to suspicious transactions has been a key part of the authorities’ strategy to identify instances of black money generation and money laundering.
According to industry observers, businesses often under-report their income or inflate expenses through bogus transactions involving companies that exist only on paper.
Over the last few years, successive governments have taken steps to curb tax evasion as well as funds that are moved out of the country coming back in the form of foreign direct investment. One key step in this regard is the renegotiation of India’s tax treaty with Mauritius.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

China vs China: Coolpad may take Xiaomi to court in India


Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad is open to moving Indian courts against IPO-bound rival Xiaomi over patent infringement, after the company filed seven such cases in China in two different courts since January this year.

Coolpad’s chief intellectual property officer told ET that Indian laws protected patent holders’ interest, which made the South Asian nation’s courts a strong option for litigation, citing the example of Ericsson suing Xiaomi in a local court which lead to an interim bar on sales of specific Xiaomi phones.

“India is one of the key markets, and India has the reputation for protecting intellectual property rights, has better laws and systems to protect patent holders.

As we saw in the Ericsson-Xiaomi case, we feel that India is a good ground for protecting patents,” Zhang said when asked whether the company would file a lawsuit here.

“Because our products are sold in India and we’re a company focused on protecting our IP assets, we will file a case in any country where we have a good chance to get good remedies,” she added.

Coolpad Group’s subsidiary, Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific, has filed six cases in Shenzen Intermediate People’s Court, Guangdong province, in January, and one in Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court, Jiangsu province, in May, against Xiaomi Telecom, Xiaomi Technology and Mi Home Business, citing patent infringement and has sought immediate bar on production and sale of certain mobile phone models.

Yulong claims that models including Xiaomi Mi Max 2, Xiaomi Note 3, Xiaomi Mi 5X, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X and Mi Mix 2, use three patents on interface, applications, icon configuration and dual-SIM card and dual-stand-by technologies, which enable basic communication, display and interaction functions that belong to the company. The first hearings are expected in September.

Xiaomi, which has maintained its No 1 position in the Indian smartphone market since December 2017, said that it was aware of the motion filed by Coolpad’s subsidiary in China, but has sought that the patent rights be declared invalid.

“Xiaomi understands that the filing has yet to be accepted by the court. Xiaomi has requested the Patent Reexamination Board of SIPO to declare the invalidation of the three patent rights regarding the above-mentioned patent infringement law suit,” it said in response to ET’s queries.

With the strong growth in smartphone sales, India has become a battleground for lawsuits alleging patent infringement.


A key player in this field is Sweden’s Ericsson which has taken several mobile phone companies including Xiaomi, Micromax, Gionee and iBall to court seeking royalties for using its standard essential patents (SEPs) on 2G and 3G technologies, since 2015.


In the specific case of Xiaomi, the Swedish gear maker got an interim injunction against sale of models using Chinese chipmaker Mediatek’s chipsets in India, which forced Xiaomi to sell only those with chipsets from Qualcomm.


Xiaomi eventually entered into an agreement with the US-based chipmaker, but its lawsuit with Ericsson remains pending in the Delhi High Court.


But not all have been as successful. Indian brands like iBall and Micromax have settled with Ericsson, with Micromax taking a global patent license from Ericsson, under which it will pay royalties on every phone sold in India and overseas which uses 2G or 3G technology.

Supreme Court refuses to stay CLAT counselling process

THE SUPREME Court gave a go-ahead for counselling for students who have cleared the Common Law Entrance Admission Test (CLAT), 2018, for admissions to the country’s top law universities. A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan refused to stay the counselling but clarified that “any further steps in the matter would be subject to further orders” of the court. “We cannot stop it,” the bench said.
Meanwhile, the report of the Grievance Redressal Committee, set up by National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi, to look into complaints about technical glitches during the exam held on May 13, was placed before the court Wednesday.
The bench directed that copies of the same be supplied to the parties. “In the meanwhile, the registry may furnish copies of the report of the Grievance Redressal Committee, appointed vide order dated May 25, to the counsel appearing for the parties,” it said.
The court had directed formation of the committee after some students approached it complaining about glitches in the test held on May 13 causing loss of crucial time.

whether the NCLAT can dismiss a statutory appeal?

 On 18 May 2018, in M/s B Himmatlal Agrawal (Appellant) v Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Anr. [Civil Appeal No. 5029 of 2018], the Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court) distinguished the decision of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) while disposing of a statutory appeal under the Competition Act, 2002 (Competition Act).

The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the NCLAT can dismiss a statutory appeal for non-compliance of its interlocutory direction to deposit a portion of the penalty as a condition for grant of interim relief. In this instant case, the Supreme Court set aside part of the NCLAT's order and restored the appeal that had been dismissed by the NCLAT. 

Background

The CCI found the Appellant guilty of rigging the bids for tenders floated by Western Coalfields Limited and correspondingly imposed a penalty of INR 3,61,00,000, which was ordered to be deposited within 60 days (CCI Order). The Appellant filed an appeal before the NCLAT against the CCI Order, seeking inter alia a stay of the penalty deposit. In response, the NCLAT granted a stay against the CCI Order (NCLAT Stay Order), with a condition that the Appellant was to deposit a sum equal to 10% of the total penalty (Deposit). However, the Appellant was unable to execute the Deposit due to financial distress. Consequently, the NCLAT dismissed the appeal on the ground of non-compliance with the NCLAT Stay Order. Being aggrieved, the Appellant filed an appeal against the NCLAT's decision before the Supreme Court.

Decision of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recognised that the right to appeal is provided under Section 53B of the Competition Act and that the said provision does not require any pre-deposit of penalty for entertaining an appeal. The Supreme Court held that the right to appeal granted by a statute cannot be curtailed by imposing a condition of pre-deposit of penalty, which can result in the dismissal of the appeal, if such deposit is not satisfied.
The Supreme Court declared that non-compliance of the NCLAT Stay Order will not impact the substantive appeal. As the condition of deposit was attached to the NCLAT Stay Order, any non-compliance would result in the NCLAT Stay Order ceasing to operate, as the pre-condition is not fulfilled. However, the substantive appeal would have to be decided on merits after giving the involved parties an opportunity to be heard.
As a result, the Supreme Court set aside part of the NCLAT Stay Order and directed that the appeal be restored and decided on merits. The stay order remained vacated on ground of the non-compliance.

http://www.mondaq.com/india/x/707524/Antitrust+Competition/Supreme+Court+Clarifies+NCLATs+Powers+In+Appeal

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Intellectual Property Markets


Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are hardly new. Trademarks came first, in the 1200s in England. Patents were next, in the 1400s in Italy. Copyrights emerged in the early 1700s in England. For the United States, laws passed in the 1790s protected patents and copyrights. Trademark laws arrived in the 1870s following legislative activity throughout Europe. These are the three primary types of intellectual property (IP) that can be “registered” with governments for protection. Each are made public, and available statistics for all countries make it possible to track global activity.

Registered IP Boom: What is happening is not a surprise. There are several factors, besides globalization and competitiveness, that fuel the growth. First is the ability to monetize IP. IP used to be part of the price of a product. It still is, but it can also be sold or licensed or bartered in an increasingly liquid marketplace. Transactable IP, which began in the early 2000s, increased the size of the available market. Providers of software and services could now create many more capabilities than simply IP inventory management systems for companies.

Open innovation came of age a few years later, spurred by giants such as Procter & Gamble that set a goal to in-source 50% of their innovations from other companies. As the internet increasingly enabled global connectivity, big data and algorithmic analytics came of age. All the pieces were now in place to take a company’s IP portfolio and compare it to any company or set of global statistics.

Finally, coming full circle, this easily comparative global information spurred further growth as analysts warned companies about not keeping up with the Joneses. Geometric growth has been going on for the past five to seven years.

IP Networks: Another important growth driver are IP organizations that are not the actual governmental registration bodies. Western economic zones have assembled neighboring countries into consortiums and/or empowered agencies that oversee activities and influence country policies and legislation, such as Europe, Eurasia, the Arab States, and Africa. Asian countries appear to be taking a more solo approach.

On a larger scale, the World Intellectual Property Organization has become an increasingly important player. It was established in 1967 by the United Nations as a self-funding agency. It is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and represents 191 of 195 countries. WIPO, as it is known, is the global forum for IP services, policy, information, and cooperation. It is a great source of information on all registered IP. Get on their e-mail list and you will have your finger on the pulse.

Patents & Trademarks: There will always be regional, vertical, and other types of segment competitors, but a look at several WIPO’s global services likely portends the future of IP. WIPO offers three global registration platforms: for utility patents (PCT), design patents (Hague), and trademarks (Madrid). Users file a single “international application” directly with WIPO, which then handles the various country filings. This is a great assist for emergent countries and regions, and is also increasingly used by industrialized nations which already have plenty of infrastructure for registration and enforcement.

Copyrights: Copyrights are also increasingly being monetized. After the “free thinking” period when the internet boom began, the realization that content has value started to return. Giant companies and organizations around the globe now compete to gather and charge for access to their content. The list is long. Copyrights have a couple interesting twists. First is the ability to digitally identify every single publication, a systems capability that has been evolving since 1998.

Does it sound to you like the future of registered IP is headed to be a transactable commodity?

Friday, May 25, 2018

With IBC norms changed, Jaypee homebuyers to rerun case


Hopeful of getting a fair treatment after reclassification as financial creditors, the homebuyers of Jaypee Infratech are planning to approach the court to rerun the ongoing resolution process under the amended Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

The government on Wednesday approved changes in the IBC through an ordinance that gives homebuyers the status of financial creditors at par with banks in the insolvency resolution process. "Once the ordinance is promulgated upon getting President's assent, we will approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to rerun the resolution process,".

Jaypee has failed to deliver 25,000 flats to the buyers citing lack of funds. The realtor had raised around Rs 12,000 crore from the buyers for its Wishtown housing project in Noida in the National Capital Region.

Rerunning the case would mean starting the process from the stage of invitation of fresh bids and reconstitution of the Committee of Creditors (CoC). So, even if the changes are prospective, it would not matter in this case, Rai said.

Currently, the resolution process is heavily tilted in favour of banks, whereas homebuyers have little say in it, homebuyers and lawyers feel.

Even as their contribution in most real estate projects is more than that of banks, homebuyers are unable to participate equitably, leave aside preferential treatment, rue lawyers and homebuyers.

Jaypee raised about Rs 12,000 crore from homebuyers in instalments and booking amount which was much higher than Rs 8,276 crore raised by it from the banks. However, homebuyers were offered only 30% as compared to banks which were offered 70% of the bid price of around Rs 10,000 crore earlier quoted by a company during the resolution process.

With better representation on the CoC, homebuyers hope to get this order reversed.

"This is likely to get reversed if the new bids are invited. Given that Rs 3,500 crore is required to complete the remaining 60% construction in the project, the homebuyers are likely to get 4-5% of the principal amount as delay compensation," Rai said.

However, even in this scenario, the homebuyers are looking at 20% haircut on an average instead of 42% expected earlier, experts point out.

Classification as financial creditors will allow homebuyers to have a greater say in the resolution process and protect their rights. Homebuyers will have voting rights and can now participate in the CoC meetings. Till now, they had no voting rights and were sitting outside the CoC.

A total of 66% members of the CoC can decide on a resolution process. This will allow homebuyers to insist the bidders to include delay compensation in the resolution plan.

However, "placing thousands of homebuyers on CoC could be tricky. Some of them may not come to vote, while others may have a different opinion,", one of Jaypee homebuyers.

Homebuyers will be treated at par with banks during the insolvency resolution process. However, if the resolution process fails and the company is forced into liquidation, homebuyers will be placed after the banks as realtor has given land assets as collateral.

http://www.dnaindia.com/business/report-with-ibc-norms-changed-jaypee-homebuyers-to-rerun-case-2618540

NCLAT admits banks’ petition over Jaypee Infratech land

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Thursday admitted a petition filed by banks against the NCLT order which had directed Jaiprakash Associates to return nearly 760 acres of land to its subsidiary Jaypee Infratech.

A two-member bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya also issued notices to the resolution professional (RP) of the company over the petition filed by three lenders -- Axis Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and ICICI Bank. The bench fixed July 13 as the next date of hearing.

During the proceedings, the appellate tribunal observed that the adjudicating authority (NCLT) does not have jurisdiction to declare any instrument illegal.

NCLAT was hearing the appeal over the order of the Allahabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which had asked debt-ridden Jaiprakash Associates Ltd to return nearly 760 acres of land to its subsidiary Jaypee Infratech, declaring the transfer of the land as “fraudulent” and “undervalued”.

NCLT had directed JP Group’s flagship firm Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL) to release and discharge interest created over the land to lenders including ICICI Bank.

The order had come on a petition filed by Jaypee Infratech’s resolution professional (RP) Anuj Jain in the NCLT seeking direction over transactions entered into by the company’s promoters creating mortgage on 858 acres of land to secure debt for JAL.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

CLAT 2018- SC Suggests To Form Nodal Agency To Examine The Grievances Of Candidates, Asks NUALS To Reply

The Supreme Court today asked Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2018 convenor Nuals Kochi to appoint an expert committee at the earliest to individually look into at least 251 CLAT 2018 candidates’ grievances with the conduct of the entrance exam this year.

Justices AM Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha heard senior advocate Salman Khurshid for CLAT 2018 candidate Disha Panchal and five other petitioners who had challenged the exam and asked for a stay on the results and for a fresh exam, on the ground that they suffered from precious time lost in answering the paper due to technical glitches in the conduct of the exam.

Senior advocate V Giri appeared for Nuals today and placed on record the computer “log reports” of the petitioners claiming that each of the six petitioners was compensated with extra time for the exact time lost on account of technical glitches.

Nuals also submitted that out of over 59,300 candidates who appeared for the CLAT 2018 LLB and LLM entrance exams, it has received 251 representations so far from aggrieved candidates claiming that they had suffered on account of errors and glitches in the exam, the petitioners’ counsel Anand Shankar Jha told us.

This leaves out possibly up to 2,120 other potentially aggrieved candidates, according to a Google form that had been opened up to responses by a free CLAT tutorial service.

Jha said that the court was of the prima facie view that there were indeed many glitches in the conduct of the exam and that Nuals should appoint a mechanism or constitute a committee to look into each individual grievance.

The judges asked Nuals to propose before the court tomorrow as to how soon it can constitute such a committee and what procedure the committee would follow to address candidates’ grievances.

The court also ordered a stay on the writ proceedings on before five other benches of various high courts by several CLAT 2018 candidates, i.e. before Rajasthan - Jodhpur and Jaipur, Punjab & Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, making their outcome subject to the decision of the Supreme Court.

Additional solicitor general appeared for the ministry of human resource development (MHRD), which was also made a respondent in the case.

Jha said that the hearings in the matter will now proceed on a day to day basis and the next hearing is tomorrow.



https://www.legallyindia.com/pre-law-student/clatinsc-nuals-to-propose-mechanism-to-look-into-251-candidates-complaints-as-2000-other-unrepresentated-sc-stays-clat-2018-proceedings-in-all-hcs-20180524-9366