Snapdeal trademark: Delhi HC directs blocking of 50 rouge websites infringing3 min read

BY: Divya Makanaboina

In the case of Snapdeal Pvt Ltd v. Snapdealluckydraws.org.in & Ors, single Judge Bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher passed an order in the Delhi High Court, granting an injunction in favor of the e-commerce company Snapdeal concerning fifty rouge websites that are infringing its registered trademark.  

Justice J R Midha, in November 2018, passed the interim order after the counsel for Snapdeal alleged that several people and entities were squandering the name of the e-commerce marketplace to run deceitful strategies and mislead customers. The High Court opined that it was content that annex-part ad-interim injunction was warranted in this matter and also inhibited the defendants from impersonating their pursuit and business as that of the e-commerce giant or associated to it, till the next date of hearing which was set in January. 

Snapdeal had filed a suit before the Court after uncovering that as many as fifty websites, such as “SNAPDEALLUCKY- DRAWS.ORG.IN”, were inter alia discrediting its benevolence and transgressing its registered trademark. These rouge websites presented counterfeit prize strategies, lotteries, and luck draw in a process that tends to illustrate that they either ensued from Snapdeal or were associated with it. 

According to the plea, the cozeners were discovered to be maneuvering the web site’s name to solicit trust amongst oblivious members of the public and influencing them to pay money on the footing of erroneous assurances of overpriced gifts and prizes. As part of their modus operandi, cozeners were discovered to be using numerous mobile numbers and bank accounts in a procedure intended to make it extremely burdensome for them to be recognized without a very systematized inquiry and execution by various law enforcement agencies, the plea alleged. 

Additionally, it stated that the entities’ bank accounts, which were utilized to secure funds, be suspended and administered authorities to forward the compliance report. It asserted that offenders have been draining off money from the oblivious general public by making use of the unauthorized website’s trademark and that it has no participation or alliance with any such strategies. The court declared that prolongation of such strategies would endanger not only the plaintiff’s interest but also of the public at large.

Thus, the court passed an order contending that the defendants to the case are injuncted from continuing their pursuit either under the plaintiff’s trademark or any other trademark which is ambiguously indistinguishable to the plaintiff’s trademark. The concerned authorities were administered to direct notifications to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to the fifty rouge websites. 

Though there is no related course of action for directing a “dynamic injunction” as is issued by courts elsewhere, to achieve the ends of justice and to convey the hazard of piracy, the court in the implementation of its inherent power under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, permitted the plaintiffs to implead the mirror websites under Order 1 Rule 10 of CPC, as these websites merely provide access to the same websites which were the subject of the main injunction. 

Additionally, on a request made by Snapdeal, the court ordered that leave is granted to the plaintiff to approach the court to array other rogue websites who are indulging in a similar pursuit, albeit illegally, as and when the same comes to its notice. 

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