Convergence Plus
Legal & Patents
Monday, December 18, 2017
Infosys’ settlement move with SEBI fine: Mohandas Pai

Infosys’ settlement move with SEBI fine: Mohandas PaiThe Infosys’ move to settle with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) the alleged disclosure lapses involving a severance pact is “perfectly fine”, the company’s former chief financial officer, T V Mohandas Pai, said today. He disagreed with the whistleblower who has reportedly asked the market regulator SEBI to prosecute the IT giant’s management and the Board. “Settlement is a normal process. Anybody can file for settlement consent decree from SEBI. There are very clear norms. SEBI can do it; it’s SEBI’s prerogative,” Pai said. On the whistleblower asking SEBI to prosecute the management as well as the board, he said, “That should be ignored. Consent order is fine. SEBI knows what to do best; leave it to SEBI.”

The chairman of Aarin Capital and also Manipal Global Education Services stressed that consent decrees are a very normal part of any capital market. “It happens all the time in the US. It happens in all capital markets because some things are difficult to prove; companies don’t want to go through ordeal of a regulatory action,” he said.

“In capital markets all over the world, companies (do) file for consent so they get over any regulatory action where there is no fraud, misrepresentation or criminality,” he said. “So, there is no criminality and deliberateness. It’s perfectly fine for the company to file consent,” Pai said, adding that the matter in Infosys’ case relates to lack of adequate and proper disclosure.

The whistleblower has argued that a settlement was similar to “backdoor agreement”, and if Infosys is allowed to do so, then “no whistleblower in future will take the pain to expose any malpractices in the corporate sector”.

The Bengaluru-headquartered company last week filed the application with SEBI to settle the issues around severance agreement with ex-CFO Rajiv Bansal. The settlement applications for violation of disclosure norms typically involve payment of a financial penalty to avoid punishment in case allegations are proved right at a later stage. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Supreme Court dismisses ED plea against Satyam’s successor firm Tech Mahindra

Supreme Court dismisses ED plea against Satyam’s successor firm Tech MahindraThe Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Enforcement Directorate against a 2014 Hyderabad High Court judgement quashing money laundering charges against SatyamBSE 0.00 %'s successor company Tech MahindraBSE -0.01 %. Enforcement Directorate (ED) had challenged the High Court judgement of December 22, 2014, in Tech Mahindra's favour, arguing that the new company — which took over Satyam Computer Services Ltd in 2009 under the intervention of Company Law Board (CLB) — could not escape responsibility for the acts of omission and commission of the erstwhile company.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra dismissed the plea without examining the legal issue of whether a successor company can be fastened with criminal liability of an earlier corporate entity.

Satyam had floundered after its chairman B Ramalinga Raju confessed publically to cooking up its books to make the company look more attractive.

CLB then came up with a proposal to infuse fresh funds into the ailing company and a new board of directors had taken over the company, which was then christened Tech Mahindra. The amalgamation was vetted by the High Court.

CBI had later taken over the case and filed cases of criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and impersonation etc. Money laundering charges were added later under sections 70 (3) and (4) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2009.

ED treated Rs8 22 crore infused into Satyam by its previous board of directors as proceeds of crime.

Tech Mahindra challenged it in the High Court and sought quashing of the charges on the ground that the charges pre-dated 2009 when a new board of directors took over.

Any such charges, against the successor company, were just unnecessary harassment, it argued.

If anything, the successor company was a victim of crime, Tech Mahindra claimed. Moreover, the new board had no knowledge of the previous dealings of the earlier board of directors, a necessary requisite of the crime of money laundering.

ED on the other hand claimed that the law would treat all those directly or indirectly involved in the company as part to the crime.

The company cannot claim lack of knowledge, it said. Tech Mahindra as the successor company cannot escape its predecessor company's liabilities, it said. Huge unaccounted for money was brought in into the former company, ED had alleged.

ED was represented by senior advocate AK Panda while Tech Mahindra was represented by senior advocates Harish Salve and KK Vishwanathan. They were assisted by lawyer Mahesh Agrawal. The SC bench included Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud besides the CJI. (Source: Economic Times)

BlackBerry signs license deal with Florida's BLU, ends patent dispute

BlackBerry signs license deal with Florida's BLU, ends patent disputeBlackBerry Ltd said on Thursday it signed a new license agreement with BLU Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-end Android phones, that would end patent disputes between the two companies.
- BlackBerry Ltd said on Thursday it signed a new license agreement with BLU Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-end Android phones, that would end patent disputes between the two companies. Canada's BlackBerry filed lawsuits against BLU in 2016, as part of the handset-maker-turned-software-company's move to make cash off a bunch of technology patents it had collected in its heyday.

Thursday's agreement will include on-going payments from BLU to BlackBerry, the companies said, but did not give further details.

The settlement will allow Blackberry "to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market," said Jerald Gnuschke, senior director of Intellectual Property Licensing at BlackBerry.

BlackBerry, which holds about 40,000 worldwide patents and applications, has been long been focusing on software sales and licensing after its once-popular phones lost out to Apple and others in the smartphone industry. (Source: REUTERS)

Lawsuits filed against Chinese smartphone maker LeEco for not paying dues

Lawsuits filed against Chinese smartphone maker LeEco for not paying duesIndian media agency network Madison Media Group and Publicis-owned creative agency Leo Burnett have filed lawsuits against cash-strapped Chinese electronic company LeEco over non-payment of dues. The lawsuits have been filed after LeEco failed to make payments for the period from January-December 2016, and some media executives said they are now more cautious in dealing with big-spending Chinese smartphone makers.

While Madison is suing LeEco for Rs 39 crore plus interest in a Hong Kong court, Leo Burnett has filed a case in the Bombay High Court for dues of Rs 2.65 crore.

"We have filed the case in the Hong Kong court because we were given bank guarantees by LeEco Hong Kong and LeEco India," Sam Balsara, chairman at Madison Media, told ET. "We have already crossed the first hurdle and as the judiciary there is reasonably fast, we are hoping a decision in our favour by mid-next year," he said. Balsara said that while all the media partners have been patient, the LeEco case is a lesson for everyone.

"This is a lesson for all of us to procure bank guarantees from clients whose financial standing is not very clear," he said. Three Madison companies were serving LeEco. "We were not just buying traditional media, but also digital and outdoor for them," Balsara said. "After they failed to pay, we stopped all ads since August last year." An executive at Leo Burnett confirmed the legal action against the Chinese firm. LeEco, in its quest to be a top player in India's booming smartphone market, spent Rs 50-80 crore a month on advertising and marketing between January and August 2016

"After burning cash and the parent company getting cash-strapped, LeEco has vanished from India without paying its dues," said a digital vendor whose dues are pending. is not very clear," he said. Three Madison companies were serving LeEco. "We were not just buying traditional media, but also digital and outdoor for them," Balsara said. "After they failed to pay, we stopped all ads since August last year." An executive at Leo Burnett confirmed the legal action against the Chinese firm.

LeEco, in its quest to be a top player in India's booming smartphone market, spent Rs 50-80 crore a month on advertising and marketing between January and August 2016. "After burning cash and the parent company getting cash-strapped, LeEco has vanished from India without paying its dues," said a digital vendor whose dues are pending.

"Some vendors have approached courts, while others are still trying to reach out to the company," the person said on condition of anonymity.A LeEco legal representative refused to comment over nonpayment of dues, but she insisted:

"We have not shut operations in India." However, there is no activity on LeEco's verified social media account on Twitter. The last tweet posted by the company was on June 16. LeEco's failure to pay has made vendors and media executives suspicious about other Chinese smartphone vendors as well.

"Chinese smartphone companies like VivoBSE -1.71 %, Oppo and Xiaomi are spending heavily on advertising and marketing. But what are their credentials?" said an ad sales executive of a TV broadcast company. "They come with big budgets, but what is to stop them from shutting shop and leaving? I won't be surprised if more such companies leave in the next 2 years," the person said on condition of anonymity.

LeEco entered in the highly competitive and cluttered Indian mobile market space in January 2016 and started splurging on a high-decibel marketing blitz. At the time of launch, the company had announced partnerships with Now and Yupp TV for content play. It had also announced opening of an R&D centre in Bengaluru with over 1,000 employees. (Source: Economic Times)

11 Days to Go before Airtel, Jio, Vodafone, Idea Roll out Aadhaar-Sim Linking via OTP

11 Days to Go before Airtel, Jio, Vodafone, Idea Roll out Aadhaar-Sim Linking via OTPAirtel, Jio, Vodafone, Idea will roll out Aadhaar-Sim linking from December 1, which means only 11 days are left now.
In order to make it convenient for users to get their mobile sim card linked to aadhaar from anywhere and everywhere without even visiting their outlets, the telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Jio have been instructed by the UIDAI to connect 12-digit identification number via OTP (one time password) received on their mobile phones. The deadline for linking Aadhaar wil mobile SIM card is February 6, 2018. .

The facility will be rolled out from December 1, which means only 11 days are left now. Last week, the UIDAI approved the telecom operators' blueprint presented by telcos to operationalise the OTP based sim reverification of existing subscribers from December 1.

"Their (telecom operators') plans have been approved... They have come and we have told them they will implement (the process) from December 1," UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey had told PTI last week.

While the authentication of mobile phone number with Aadhaar, a process called re-verification, by visiting stores of telecom firms will continue, the government has ordered the companies to carry out the exercise at the doorsteps of the disabled, chronically ill and senior citizens.

He said the new methods would also "help achieve the (re-verification) task in the given timeframe (February 6 deadline) and make the whole system more secure as it will prevent misuse of mobile number by unscrupulous elements". ( Source:NDTV)

Mobile and ICT patents transform our everyday lives

Mobile and ICT patents transform our everyday livesInnovations in cellular technology have opened us up to new digital experiences: 2G allowed us to have better conversations, 3G enabled us to surf the web, and 4G has given us seamless video streaming.

5G is now taking us to the next level and closer towards our vision of the Networked Society. It will bring rich video content with zero waiting times, immersive VR experiences and a whole range of exciting IoT services – in this connected world, anything is possible.
To continue innovating, we need to invest in the visionaries. Ericsson supports licensing under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms which remunerates companies with patent royalties.

This enables them to re-invest in future developments, from cellular technology to incredible new advances in video encoding and location-based services. It means that the fruits of early and fundamental research are contributed back to the ecosystem, which leads to technology standards being established for generations to come. (Source: Ericsson)

Telecom department to make re-verification of mobile nos with Aadhaar easier

Telecom department to make re-verification of mobile nos with Aadhaar easierThe telecom department expects to finalise steps within a week to make it easier for consumers to re-verify their mobile numbers through Aadhaar without visiting telco retail outlets.

The Department of Telecommunications has held a series of meetings on the issue — the latest one on Friday — where carriers were asked for proposals on the steps that consumers need to follow and these have been shared with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

“The process has been suggested to UIDAI and it will now meet with the telecom department to finalise it,” a senior official at the department said, adding that representatives of carriers had met DoT officials as well. “The plan is to approve the process within this week,” the official added.

A senior executive at a leading carrier said the government wants to implement the process quickly. UIDAI has already told consumers on Twitter that they can verify their mobile numbers through a one-time passcode received on their mobile numbers registered with Aadhaar from December 1.

“It may take us a few days to put the process in place but to make sure it is tested and error-free can take a couple of weeks,” he said.

Among the suggestions made by telcos, subscribers will send their Aadhaar and mobile details to a designated number set up for verification. The telco will validate the information with UIDAI and complete the re-verification. For consumers who may be incapacitated or those who cannot use the one-time passcode, telcos have proposed a charge of Rs 200 for every home visit, said a senior executive aware of the proposals. (Source: Economic Times)

TechM files petitions against RCom, subsidiaries over dues

TechM files petitions against RCom, subsidiaries over duesReliance Communications today said IT services major Tech Mahindra has filed insolvency petitions against the company and its two subsidiaries for recovering dues. The quality of service and amounts billed are disputed, RCom said in a regulatory filing terming the petitions as “misconceived, premature and motivated by extraneous considerations“. “We wish to inform you that Tech Mahindra Ltd, a vendor for call centre services, has filed petitions, as an unsecured operational creditor under IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code against the company, Reliance Telecom and Reliance Big TV, subsidiaries of the company for certain bills submitted by them for services allegedly rendered,” the Anil Ambani company said.

Noting that the aggregate amount of Tech Mahindra’s claim against all the three companies worked out to Rs. 8.20 crore, RCom said “the claim amount is not considered material by respective companies concerned“.

“We submit that the petitions are misconceived, premature and motivated by extraneous considerations,” it added.Reliance Communications, which is reeling under a debt burden of about Rs. 46,000 crore, recently called off merger talks with Aircel, citing “legal and regulatory” delays.

RCom and Aircel had signed binding agreements in September 2016 for the merger of mobile business.RCom’s Rs. 11,000 crore tower deal with Brookfield is also being reworked following termination of wireless merger talks with Aircel. Aircel tenancy would have been a sweetener for Brookfield in the tower deal, but the recent collapse of merger talks (between RCom and Aircel) prompted a renegotiation on contours of the deal between the Anil Ambani company and the Canadian firm. (Source: The HinduBusiness Line)

Vodafone moves Supreme Court, seeks access to cost model used to calculate IUC

Vodafone moves Supreme Court, seeks access to cost model used to calculate IUC Vodafone India has approached the Supreme Court seeking access to the cost model used by the telecom regulator to calculate how much one operator must pay another to connect calls between their networks. Vodafone has filed a plea in the apex court contesting a Delhi High Court order that denied its request in the matter a few weeks ago, according to two people aware of the development.

“A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the division bench order of the high court,” one person said. The plea, filed on Saturday, is likely to be heard on October 4-5, after the apex court reopens, the second person said. Vodafone didn’t respond to an emailed query. The matter is related to the interconnection usage charge (IUC) paid by the network from where a call originates to the operator where it is received. The charge is decided by the telecom regulatory authority of India.

Vodafone’s appeal stated that Trai must ensure transparency in the process and that the division bench had ‘erred in holding that the telco does not have a vested legal right to the information sought,’ one of the people said. The UK-based carrier’s Indian arm appears to have taken a similar line of argument as it did when it approached the high court last month: that not sharing the cost model amounted to a violation of the principles of natural justice and that carriers were entitled to a transparent process in determining the charge.

IUC, currently 14 paise per minute, will be reduced to 6 paise a minute starting October 1 and scrapped from January 2020, Trai said on September 19. Bharti AirtelBSE -0.80 %, Vodafone India and Idea CellularBSE -1.02 %, which stand to lose about Rs 5,000 crore a year, criticised the regulator’s decision. (Source: Economic Times)


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