In an attempt to ensure counterfeits of popular branded products are not sold on online marketplaces, the Delhi High Court has directed an e-commerce platform to make sure that each item put up for sale on its site are genuine.
Justice Pratibha M Singh said “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”. Justice Singh further said that those sites which “actively conspire, abet or aide, or induce” commission of unlawful acts, like the sale of counterfeits, “cannot go scot-free”.
According to the Information Technology (IT) Act, intermediaries include e-commerce sites as it is providing services to customers on behalf of another person, the seller.
The observations by the bench came on a suit of trademark infringement 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.
The firm is named after its founder, Christian Louboutin, who was a famous designer of high-end luxury products. In its plea, Louboutin had said that his name and image was being used as a meta-tag by the e-commerce to attract consumer traffic to its site.
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Taking note of the contentions of the plaintiff firm, the 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. Besides, the site was also directed to obtain a certificate from its sellers that goods they sell on the platform are genuine.
If seller not located in India, then Darveys.com has to notify the brand owner (Christian Louboutin) and obtain its concurrence before offering the product for sale on its platform, the court said in the 59-page judgement.
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”.
With the directions, the court disposed of the plea moved by Christian Louboutin.