Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: In a case wherein plaintiff’s marks IKEA/ were being used to misled people into investing significant sums of money on the pretext of securing a steady income from plaintiff, Sanjeev Narula, J., restrained Defendants 1 and 2, and all persons acting on their behalf, from using plaintiff’s registered IKEA/ trade marks and/or their variations, as a part of their domain names, websites, mobile applications, social media handle names/profiles credentials/description, promotional/business activities on digital or print media, bank accounts and/or any business papers etc. in any manner, that would amount to infringement and passing off of plaintiff’s registered IKEA/ trade marks.

Background

Plaintiff, Inter Ikea Systems BV, was a part of the Inter IKEA Group, which included service companies and companies selling IKEA products to franchisees in markets. Plaintiff was the owner of the IKEA Concept and IKEA Retail System, which was franchised to specific retailers, for sale of affordable home furnishing products and accessories under the IKEA/ trade marks. The mark and logo , along with its colour combination and trade dress had been granted trade mark registrations in various countries, including India. The domain name “ikea.com”, which entails plaintiff’s trade mark “IKEA”, was registered in plaintiff’s favour on 29-7-1995 and was accessible worldwide since 1998. On 14-2-2005, plaintiff also registered the domain name “ikea.in”, which was specifically accessible to the Indian public.

Plaintiff’s grievance arises from the operation of the website “www.keiekae.store/ikea/” and the mobile application “IKEA” by Defendants 1 and 2 that were an imitation of plaintiff’s own website and mobile applications. Plaintiff first learnt of the impugned website and mobile application through a complaint received by an aggrieved consumer and as per his account, Defendants 1 and 2 openly advertise the impugned website and mobile application as a money-making platform, guaranteeing returns up to 200% of the invested amount within 35 days.

In addition to the above, the victim was also made to join a WhatsApp group titled “IKEA-1011 WORKING GROUP”, with about 150 other participants. However, when he started to question the legitimacy of the impugned website and application, he, along with his father, were removed from the group, and the invested amount was never returned to them. In the process, victim’s father lost about Rs 20,000. Thus, the victim lodged a complaint with the Cyber Cell Department, Pune.

Plaintiff took the services of an investigator, who confirmed the victim’s information. The ‘About Us’ section and several articles on the impugned website mention information about plaintiff and the IKEA products. The ‘IKEA Story’ section of the impugned website contains a URL that directed the user to a mirror website that has lifted content from plaintiff’s own website. Further, the impugned website displayed a Certificate of Authorization, issued by a non-existent Department of Taxation and Electronic Information, which also contained plaintiff’s mark. Thus, plaintiff submitted that Defendants 1 and 2 were therefore running a pyramid scheme by misusing plaintiff’s name and trade mark IKEA/.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court took note of the impugned website and mobile application and opined that the images uploaded on the website and shared on the mobile clearly displayed plaintiff’s “IKEA” and registered trade marks without plaintiff’s consent. The Court opined that consumers were being misled into investing significant sums of money on the pretext of securing a steady income from plaintiff. Thus, the Court held that prima facie, Defendants 1 and 2 had infringed plaintiff’s registered marks, which was detrimental to plaintiff’s goodwill and standing in the market.

The Court opined that plaintiff had made out a prima facie case in their favour and in case an ex-parte ad-interim injunction was not granted, plaintiff would suffer an irreparable loss. Thus, the Court passed the following directions:

  1. Defendants 1 and 2, and all persons acting on their behalf, were restrained from using plaintiff’s registered IKEA/ trade marks and/or their variations, as a part of their domain names, websites, mobile applications, social media handle names/profiles credentials/description, promotional/business activities on digital or print media, bank accounts and/or any business papers etc. in any manner, that would amount to infringement and passing off of plaintiff’s registered IKEA/ trade marks.

  2. Defendants 1 and 2, and all persons acting on their behalf, were restrained from using a layout/user interface on their website “www.keiekae.store” or any other website, which amounted to infringement of plaintiff’s copyright vested in the layout/user interface of their website “www.ikea.com”.

  3. Defendant 3 should suspend/block the domain name “www.keiekae.store”.

The matter would next be listed on 14-8-2024.

[Inter Ikea Systems BV v. John Doe, 2024 SCC OnLine Del 1899, Order dated 12-3-2024]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Plaintiff: Tanya Varma, Aiswarya Debadarshini, Rohan Krishna Seth, Srinivas Venkat, Advocates

For the Defendants: Nidhi Raman (CGSC), Zubin Singh, Rishav Dubey (GP), Advocates

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

2 comments

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.