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Court-Case Bulletins & Critiques
August 19, 2019

Courts to have jurisdiction where Internet Users and Complainants Suffer Losses owing to Third Party Domain Registration

In the matter of Rajesh Dalal and Ors. v. State of Maharashtra and Ors. [Criminal Application Nos. 313, 314 & 315 of 2017], the Bombay High Court vide its order dated August 16, 2019, dismissed the Appellants’ (viz. Rajesh Dalal, Make My Trip India Pvt. Ltd. and Deep Kalra) criminal applications challenging the Additional Metropolitan Magistrate’s order dated July 1, 2014  (upheld by the Additional Sessions Judge on December 14, 2016) issuing summons to the Appellants in light of a criminal complaint filed against it on grounds of, inter alia, provision of services by applying a false trademark thereto. The Court while dismissing the argument of lack of jurisdiction held that it has jurisdiction as internet users and the Respondent have suffered losses thereat.

The Respondent, M/s. Ezeego one Travels & Tours Limited, provides internet users a virtual travel marketplace under its registered trademark EZEEGO1 for which it also owns the domain name registration <ezeego1.com>. The Respondent contended that the Appellants infringed the trademark EZEEGO1 by registering various domain names which were similar to the Respondent’s mark and resultantly cheating internet users on two separate occasions (despite being put to notice of the Respondent’s rights on the first occasion).

The Appellants contended that the Additional Metropolitan Magistrate in Bombay did not have the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint as mere accessibility of a universally accessible website does not lend jurisdiction to a Court. The Appellants also contended that they do not reside, work for gain or carry on business within the Court’s jurisdiction. The Appellants further contented that the registration of the alleged domain was made at Jaipur and that the Respondent did not plead suffering of any loss at Bombay. The Appellants also stated they were unaware of the Respondent’s rights in the mark and that upon request of the Respondent, the domain names were transferred to the Respondent.

The Court opined that “upon careful perusal of the material placed on record prima facie ingredients of the alleged offences are attracted and consequently an alleged offence have been disclosed”. The Court while holding that “…does not deem it appropriate to interfere with the impugned order…”, upheld the findings that “whenever the domain was registered and where the internet user as well as complaint company suffered the losses the Court has jurisdiction”.

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