Flipkart was again in the news recently. The e-commerce company sent a legal notice to a Hyderabad based blogger, Amit Bhawani, for the infringement of it trademark/logo and cyber squatting.
Seems like a garden variety case of trademark infringement right? Not quite. Mr Bhawani who is technology blogger with sites like ‘Phone Radar’ and ‘Android Advices’, also ran a website called ‘amazonvsflipkart.com’. As the name suggests the website hosted a ‘customer satisfaction poll’ pitting Flipkart and Amazon against each other, to compare overall quality of service. Based on this action of the blogger Flipkart sent him a cease and desist notice for unauthorized use of its trademark, domain name and artistic work.
The cease and desist notice stated, that Flipkart ‘anticipated’, that the use of its logo and other intellectual property is likely to cause confusion amongst the people. Not to forget, the site featured trademarks of both Flipkart and Amazon. Further harping on the same point, the notice goes on to say that by using the Flipkart name and logo the website is misleading the people that it has some association or affiliation with Flipkart. This misrepresentation could lead people to “subscribe to the services” offered by amazonvsflipkart.com
The notice goes on to accuse Mr. Bhawani of making unauthorized use of Flipkart’s IP for financial and commercial gain. According to Flipkart, Mr. Bhawani is responsible for cybersquatting as the domain name of his website contains the Flipkart trademark, diverting traffic from the Flipkart website, which could be lucrative for the blogger. The notice accused Mr. Bhawani of passing off and that this action “has caused irreparable harm and injury to the company”.
Following the notice, which gave him seven days to take down all Flipkart IP and stop using the domain name, Mr Bhawani has taken down the allegedly infringing website. This incident could possibly have a chilling effect on other websites which incorporate names of companies for surveys or polls.
Authored by Anchita Sharma