Delhi HC has directed an e-commerce platform to make sure that each item put up for sale on its site is genuine.
High Court’s directions are a positive step towards ensuring that counterfeits of the popular branded products are not sold on online marketplaces.
HC Judge, Justice Pratibha M Singh issued directions while expounding that in the world of E-Commerce, Trademark owners are face challenging times as the sellers of the infringing products seek shelter behind platform’s legitimacy and added that those sites which “actively conspire, abet or aide, or induce” commission of unlawful acts, like sale of counterfeits, “cannot go scot-free”.
HC Bench further added that,”In the world of E-Commerce, intellectual property (IP) owners face challenging times. This is because sellers of counterfeit or infringing products seek shelter behind the platform’s legitimacy”.
“Moreover, if sellers themselves are located on the foreign shores and trade mark owner cannot exercise any remedy against the seller who is selling counterfeits on the e-commerce platform, then the trade mark owner cannot be left remediless”, added Justice Singh.
Intermediaries, according to Information Technology (IT) Act, includes E-Commerce sites as it is providing services to customers on behalf of another person, the seller.
Delhi HC Bench was hearing a trademark infringement suit by women’s luxury shoe brand Christian Louboutin which claimed that India-based e-commerce site Darveys.com was selling “impaired or counterfeit” goods in the name of the firm.
Firm is named after its founder, Christian Louboutin, who was a famous designer of high-end luxury products, its plea submitted that his name and image was being used as a meta-tag by the e-commerce to attract consumer traffic to its site.
Taking into consideration contentions of Plaintiff, High Court issued a slew of directions, including that of Darveys.com shall disclose on its site the complete details of its sellers and their contact details.
Website was also directed to obtain a Certificate from its sellers that the Goods they sell on platform are genuine.
HC Bench in its Judgment stated that,”If seller is not located in India, then Darveys.com has to notify brand owner (Christian Louboutin) and obtain its concurrence before offering the product for sale on its platform”.
It further added that if sellers were in India, then Darveys.com shall enter into a proper agreement with them on guaranteeing the authenticity and genuineness of products as well as consequences of violation of terms of such contract.
The court also directed removal of the meta-tags and further ordered that if the website was informed by the plaintiff about any counterfeit product being sold on its platform “it shall notify the seller and if the seller is unable to provide any evidence that the product is genuine, it shall take down the said listing and notify the plaintiff of the same”.
High Court then proceeded to dispose of the plea moved by Christian Louboutin.