The Plaintiff, Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd., owns, operates and manages the India online marketplace at www.amazon.in on which lakhs of third-party sellers and buyers interact and conduct their transactions.
Plaintiff No. 2, owns the trademark ‘AMAZON’ in various classes and copyright on the ‘AMAZON’ logos. Plaintiff No.2 has licensed its copyrights and trademarks to Amazon Seller Services, for the purposes of promotion, publication and merchandising within the territory of India.
Amazon Seller Services alleged that the Defendants, Amazonbuys.in and others were using the trademark ‘AMAZON’ (word and logos) and were offering fake registration services by charging fees for Amazon Seller Services’ Amazon Easy Program. The Amazon Easy Program is an assisted shopping program introduced by Amazon Seller Services. Amazonbuys’ website had also adopted a look and feel that was identical to Amazon Seller Services’ website ‘amazon.in’. Amazonbuys.in also started Instagram and Facebook pages by the name ‘Amazon Franchise’, which redirected to Amazonbuys’ website. Additionally, the activities of Amazonbuys were leading to a financial loss to the innocent and unsuspecting members of the public.
The issues before the Court were –
- Whether Amazonbuys was guilty of infringement of trademark infringement and passing off?
- Whether the identical reproduction of Plaintiffs’ logos and the identical representation of Plaintiffs’ website amounted to infringement of copyright?
- Had Amazon Seller Services’ made out a prime facie case for ad interim injunction?
The Court referred to Sections 2(1)(zg), 11(6), and 11(7) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 to establish whether Amazon Seller Services had achieved a status of well-known marks. Further, Section 2(c) of the Copyright Act, 1957 was referred to establish that the logos of the Amazon Seller Services constituted an original artistic work. Moreover, Section 2(o) of the Copyright Act, 1957 was also referred to establish that the literary content, graphical user interface, arrangement and colour scheme as contained on Amazon Seller Services’ website qualified as ‘literary work’; and also to determine whether the images, pictures, and photographs contained in Amazon Seller Services’ website would qualify as ‘artistic works’ as per Section 2(c) of Copyright Act, 1957.
The Court referred to the documents on record including the home page of Amazon Seller Services’. The Court noted the copying of Amazon Seller Services’ website by the Defendants; website of the Defendants using the address of Amazon Seller Services; screenshot of the e-mails received from one of the complainants and the actual money deposited by the said complainant; registration form; legal notice issued by the complainant to Amazon Seller Services and other evidence. Further, the Court observed that Amazonbuys was causing financial loss to the innocent and the unsuspecting members of the public.
The Court considered the arguments made by Amazon Seller Services and the aforementioned documents, and opined that Amazon Seller Services had made out a prima facie case in its favour. The Court found that the balance of convenience lay in favor of Amazon Seller Services, which was likely to suffer irreparable harm if an injunction was not granted to prevent further misuse of its trademarks and copyrights.
The Court found that Amazon Seller Services had made out a prima facie case showing likelihood of confusion, actual confusion, blurring and tarnishment of its registered trademarks, infringement and passing off of its trademarks, and infringement of copyright of its logos and website. The Court observed that the Defendants had grossly misrepresented their website as being affiliated with Amazon Seller Services, to the extent that they provided the same address.
In light of the aforesaid findings, the Delhi High Court granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiffs i.e., Amazon Seller Services.
The Court directed –
- Defendant No. 1 to 3 to refrain from using Plaintiffs’ trademarks or any other deceptively similar mark, directly or indirectly, and to refrain from using Plaintiffs’ copyright protected artistic works.
- Defendant No. 4 to suspend the fake accounts of the Defendants and provide IP addresses of the users operating them.
- Defendant No. 5 and 6 to freeze the bank accounts and provide the statement of accounts pertaining to the said account numbers.
- Defendant No. 7 to furnish an Affidavit and the KYC details of the beneficiary of the PayTM account holder in respect of certain transactions.
- Defendant No. 8 to disclose details of the registrant of Defendants No. 1 and 3’s website and block access to the said websites.
- Defendants No. 9, 10, 12, 15, and 17, to disclose details of Defendants No 1 to 3’s phone numbers.
- Defendants No. 9 to 17 to block access to the websites identified as those operated by the Defendants.
- Defendants No 18(DoT) and 19(MeitY) to issue notifications ordering the registered internet and telecom service providers to block access to the various websites/domain names/URLs identified by Amazon Seller Services.
Citation: Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. v. Amazonbuys.in & Ors., Decided by the Delhi High Court, on May 26th, 2022 available at https://indiankanoon.org/doc/134994642/, last visited on June 1st, 2022.
Authored and contributed by Ms. Mahak Shinghal (Intern), Consulting & Strategy Department
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