In this world of online retailing, marketing and selling, sellers should be aware, of rogue entities duping innocent sellers.
In the recent case of “Amazon Seller Services V. Amazon Buys”,
We all know about Amazon (operated by Amazon Seller Services), the online marketplace in India through “www.amazon.in”, where various third-party sellers and buyers interact and take part in business. Amazon owns various trademarks under a number of classes and one of them is ‘Amazon’. It is also the owner of copyright in various logos of ‘Amazon’ under the Copyright Act, 1957. The program of “Amazon’s Amazon East” (AE) partakes as an assisted shopping program which allows interested parties to set up, the “Amazon Easy Store“ by reaching out to Amazon Easy market partners. Hence, various store owners through the AE store help various customers in selection and to identify and select a product that they like and buy these products on www.amazon.in. This helps buyers who are interested to walk into the “Amazon Easy Stores” and view the products before purchasing the same on their official website.
Recently, Amazon came to be aware of the fact that “Amazonbuys.in” and various other group entities were infringing and using the trademark of Amazon along with the logo and through fake and fraudulent websites, Instagram and Facebook pages also offered fake registration services for the AE program. These entities also acquired the identical look to the website of Amazon www.Amazon.in. Apart from this, they were also offering Amazon‘s dealership and franchisee with respect to the AE program.
Amazon took these fraudulent and group entities to the Delhi High Court wanting the grant of an ex parte ad-interim injunction or a temporary restraining order against Amazonbuys.in and other such entities who were defrauding and cheating the public at large through misrepresentation of its association with Amazon. Amazon claimed that these entities took part in the pre-planning of a conspiracy to rob and deceive The innocent public who were interested in registering as “Amazon Easy Store”. It was contended that these rogue entities outstretched to the innocent, gullible customers and swindled money from them with a false ground that these monies were being collected as part of a registration process for setting up the Amazon Easy store, hence luring these innocent people with fallacious intentions.
The court after considering the contentions of both parties and scrutinising the documents on record opined that Amazon Seller Services had made out a prima facie case in its favour. The Court found that the balance lay in favour of Amazon Seller Services, which would suffer irreparable harm if an injunction was not granted to prevent further misuse of its trademarks and copyrights. The Court also observed that these entities had grossly misrepresented their website as being affiliated with Amazon Seller Services, to the extent that they provided the same address.
Hence, the court granted an ex-party injunction in favour of Amazon, restraining these rogue entities from using the Amazon mark, logo and their domain name Amazon, Amazon.in etc. The court also ordered these entities prohibiting them to suspend and terminate all fake accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc which promoted Amazon‘s marks, logos or any domain names, unethically.
(TradeMark – owned by Amazon and the other used by the rouge entities)