Delhi HC Declines Snapdeal’s Plea in Trademark Infringement Matter

The Delhi High Court (HC) has recently declined the plea filed by Snapdeal (an Indian e-commerce company based out of New Delhi) seeking temporary relief against Domain Name Registrars (DNRs) in a Trademark Infringement issue.

Snapdeal was looking forward to getting the suspension done of all registrations granted by the registrars alleging that they infringed upon its ‘Snapdeal’ trademark.

It argued by saying that third parties having no connection with it have been registering domain names comprising the word or thread ‘Snapdeal,’ engaging in unauthorized activities like offering lucky draws through websites operating under the domain names in question and acting as customer service centers for Snapdeal’s offerings without obtaining its permission.

The Delhi HC, in this matter, said that it couldn’t stop or restrict such DNRs from issuing Trademark Registration for the ‘Snapdeal’ mark since it is, in general, not legitimate for the Court to hold in well advance that every alternative domain name comprising the term ‘Snapdeal’ would necessarily be infringing in nature.

A DNR manages the reservations of domain names while also assigning the IP addresses to the domain names in question. However, the Delhi HC stated that DNRs are also responsible for ensuring that the alternative domain names do not infringe upon any already existing Registered Trademarks. Furthermore, it mentioned that in the scenario where DNRs offer brokerage services for deceptively identical names, they would be held liable for trademark infringement. The Court even asked the DNRs to suspend any algorithm that works in the manner to create a possibility of making infringing alternative domain names available. It concluded by mentioning that DNRs cannot claim safe harbor protection in such matters.

In a recent statement delivered, a Snapdeal spokesperson said the company is pleased to see how the Delhi HC held that it is the responsibility of the DNRs to ensure that the alternative domain names offered by them do not infringe upon any already existing registered trademarks.

In its petition filed before the Delhi HC, Snapdeal had sought an injunction against the DNRs from offering any domain name containing its ‘Snapdeal’ trademark. While declining an interim relief, a single judge bench of Justice C. Hari Shankar said the Court couldn’t pass an order operating in the future, i.e., restricting the DNRs from offering the registration of any domain name, including the thread or word ‘Snapdeal,’ as the same would be attributing the Court clairvoyance that it does not possess. The Court further mentioned that Snapdeal would, therefore, be required to file a petition every time there is a domain name that it finds to be infringing. In its judgment, the Court agreed that it would undoubtedly be a long and cumbersome exercise, which can’t be helped as there is no shortcut to justice. For more visit:

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