Delhi High Court: In a suit filed by Indiamart Intermesh Limited (‘plaintiff’) seeking permanent injunction against fraudulent website https://india-mart.co/ registered by Sameer Samim Khan (‘defendant’) for luring gullible persons and offering them ‘work from home’ jobs under the ‘India Mart’s Data Entry Project’, Prathiba M Singh J., granted ex parte ad interim injunction observing that if the activities of Defendant 1 are not nipped in the bud, irreparable injury would be caused not only to the Plaintiff, but also to the public at large that may be deceived by the fraudulent activities of Defendant 1.
The Plaintiff had coined and adopted the mark / name ‘INDIAMART’ in the year 1996 and registered the domain name www.indiamart.com way back on 8-03-1996. The said mark is also the permanent feature of its corporate name. It is a business to business (B2B) portal providing an internet-based marketplace / platform with free and paid listings for promotion of industry, products and services. The said platform operates as an interactive platform between buyers and sellers. The Plaintiff also has various ‘INDIAMART’ domain names registered under several extensions such as www.indiamart.com, www.indiamart.co.in, www.indiamart.ind.in and www.indiamart.net.in.
The Plaintiff is aggrieved by Defendant 1’s registration (as on 07-08-2022) of the impugned domain name- https://india-mart.co/ by registrar GO DADDY LLP which has protected details for privacy. The suit was filed against the defendant for illegal and unauthorized adoption and use of the Plaintiff’s trademark/logo/devices for the purposes of deceiving and duping the general public and trade by misrepresenting himself as the Plaintiff/ Plaintiff’s representative.
The picture of impugned website
It is pertinent to note that Defendant 1 is operating the above website from the said domain name where it features the photographs of Plaintiff’s promoters and also gives the details of the Plaintiff’s address- IndiaMart Intermesh Limited 1st Floor, 29-Daryaganj, Netaji Subhash Marg, New Delhi- 110002 and for the purpose of luring customers for such vacancies is also offering various plans which can be availed by anyone after payment of application fees of Rs. 899/- and 1199/-.
On certain enquiries made by the plaintiff, as claimed, it was also found out that on some of the openly available telephone directories such as Truecaller, the details of Defendant 1 consist in fact of the logo, name, and address of the Plaintiff.
The Court noted that it is clear that Defendant 1 is completely passing off and indulging in fraudulent activity by showcasing himself as the Plaintiff/ Plaintiff’s representative and collecting various sums of money by allegedly offering job opportunities. The website leaves no doubt in the mind of the Court that the entire business of Defendant 1 is mala fide, dishonest and illegal and also, contrary to law.
The Court thus restrained defendant 1 from using the mark / name / domain name ‘INDIAMART’ which is identical or confusingly / deceptively similar to the Plaintiff’s mark ‘INDIAMART’ till the next date of hearing.
The Court directed MeitY/DoT to issue blocking orders within 24 hours of the receipt of the present order and GO DADDY LLP to lock and suspend the impugned domain name.
It further directed defendant 3 to provide records to Mr. Raman Lamba, ACP, Cyber Crime Unit, Delhi Police to investigate regarding the person who has registered the domain name and as to whether the said person has requested for ‘privacy protect feature’ or was the same given by GoDaddy on its own as well as the details of payment received by GoDaddy from Registrant- Defendant 1 and whether any further services are being offered to the Defendant 1 by GoDaddy.
As per records submitted before the Court, the details of the bank account for remitting duped money as ‘application fee’ appears to be in Union Bank of India, the counsel for the bank assured the Court that the bank account shall be immediately frozen. The Court has further asked the bank to submit whatever details they possess and can be possibly derived from the bank account.
The matter is next listed for 27-09-2022.
[Indiamart Intermesh Limited v. Sameer Samim Khan, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2965, decided on 13-09-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Sidharth Chopra, Mr. Nitin Sharma, Ms. Deepika, Mr. Naman Tandon and Mr. Yatinder Garg, Advocates, for the plaintiff;
Ms. Nazia Praveen, Advocate for Mr. Sanjeev Sagar, Standing Counsel for Union Bank of India Ms. Hetu Arora Sethi, Advocate for Delhi Police. Mr. Raman Lamba, IFSO, Special Cell, Delhi Police, Advocates, for the defendant.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.