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October 13, 2020

Impact on Statutory & Commercial Rights by Rogue Websites Sufficient for Interim Order

Author: Dishti Titus

In the matter of Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd. v. Godaddy Operating Company LLC & Ors. CS(COMM) 370/2020 [I.A. No. 7941/2020], the Delhi High Court, vide its order dated September 10, 2020, granted an ad-interim injunction directing suspension of Defendants’ domain names purposed to be rogue websites using the Plaintiff’s marks including Flipkart’ and ‘The Big Billion day’. 

The Plaintiff – Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd. claims to be the registered proprietor and user of the trademarks ‘Flipkart’ and ‘The Big Billion day’ and their variants. The Plaintiff claims to be using FLIPKART since 2007 and also operates the website www.flipkart.com. Defendant Nos. 8-19 are the alleged rogue websites, Defendant Nos. 1-7 are Domain Name Registrars (DNRs) and Defendant Nos. 20 to 28 are the Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”).

The Plaintiff in its suit contended that Defendant Nos. 8-19 are using the Plaintiff’s trademarks in respect of their rogue websites which is impacting its statutory and commercial rights. The Plaintiff further asserted that upon visiting the rogue websites, one is redirected to other websites, including pornographic websites. The Plaintiff also argued that Defendant Nos. 1-7 are permitting registration of the domain names which include, albeit surreptitiously, plaintiff’s trademark “Flipkart” and/or its variants.

The Court observed that Defendant Nos. 8-19 are deluding the public into believing that their websites are the websites of the Plaintiff. Holding that a prima facie case had been made out in favour of the Plaintiff the Court ordered that “defendant no. 8 to 19 … are restrained from using the plaintiff’s trademark and/or domain name i.e. www.flipkart.com or any other mark or domain name which is deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s trademark including the mark “The Big Billion Day” …The DNRs i.e. defendant no. 1 to 7 will block/suspend the domain names/websites of defendant nos. 8 to 19 till further orders of the court. This direction will also apply to defendant nos. 20 to 28 as well who, I am told, are the Internet Service Providers [in short “ISPs”]. 7.1 Likewise, defendant no. 29/Department of Telecommunications and defendant no. 30/Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will issue appropriate notification(s) calling upon the various ISPs licensed under them to block access to the websites of defendant nos. 8 to 19.”.

Disclaimer: Views, opinions, interpretations are solely those of the author, not of the firm (ALG India Law Offices LLP) nor reflective thereof. Author submissions are not checked for plagiarism or any other aspect before being posted.

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