Dynamic injunction: Facebook and Google block websites infringing Aaj Tak brand

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Dynamic injunctions have been the latest maneuver to limit the nuisance of the reappearance of hacked websites. Honorable Judge Suresh Kumar Kait of Delhi High Court in Living Media India Limited & Anr. vs. www.news-aajtak.co.in & Ous.[1], passed an order directing intermediaries and other domain name registrars to block websites infringing on the plaintiff’s “Aaj Tak” trademark. Living Media India Limited is the parent company of the famous Hindi news channel “Aaj Tak”. The website www.news-aajtak.co.in and other websites with the word “Aaj Tak” as part of their domain name (commonly referred to as “rogue websites”) are trademark infringement “Aaj Tak”. The Honorable Court previously granted an interim injunction and ordered Domain Name Registrars (DNRs) to block rogue websites, but over time several mirror websites appear after rogue websites are blocked. The Hon’ble Delhi High Court, ruled on the Third Party Claim in its Order dated September 6, 2021.
Facts:

The applicant had argued that he owned several “Aaj Tak” marks (with figurative marks as well as composite marks) which are shown below.

24and September 2020, the Hon’ble Court had issued an interim injunction order against four (4) defendants. In the present motion, the plaintiff had requested the third party of several other defendants (9-36) and had also requested the suspension of the domain name registrations of the websites of the proposed defendants nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 , 15 and 17 and web/-platforms under proposed defendants nos. 18 to 26 and 27 to 36. 9 to 12, 14, 15, 17 to 25 and 27 to 36 as well as defendants’ proposals nos. 13, 16 and 26 are also necessary parties to adjudicate this matter, and if left unaddressed, on the face of it, will amount to an immense loss of goodwill and reputation due to the illegal activities of the proposed defendants. . Thus, the motion for interim relief was granted by the Hon’ble Court and the proposed defendants (No. 9-36) were implicated in the present case.

A notice of said application was then issued to the aforementioned proposed defendants, and until the next court date, the Court has held that the interim injunction granted by order dated 24.09.2020 will also implicate upon defendants nos. 9-36. Necessary directions were also given by the Hon’ble Court to block/suspend the infringing websites/domain names/web platforms relating to the newly defendants.

DYNAMIC INJUNCTIONS IN THE INDIAN CONTEXT

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the nation has faced a new challenge of increasing number of intellectual property rights violation/violation cases, especially digital piracy cases. Owners of intellectual property rights have knocked on the doors of the competent courts to seek appropriate remedies. In several cases, reputable courts have granted interim injunctions in favor of intellectual property rights holders to protect their respective rights; however, the culprits sometimes spiral out of control. Once an injunction or instruction is granted by the Hon’ble Court for the blocking of the specified bogus website/domain name, mirror websites (hosted under slightly modified/different domain names) take their place .

In Indian context, dynamic injunctions are the need of the hour as regular injunctions in which multiple bogus websites are introduced/launched by the scammers, it becomes difficult for the applicant to monitor all the illegal activities. Dynamic injunctions further allow courts to extend the original injunction order and include new/additional mirrors/fake websites that have the same content as the original and are only registered under a different domain and/or use a different IP address.

In India, there are previous cases where honorable courts have granted dynamic injunction in order to protect the owners of intellectual property rights. The Honorable Delhi High Court has granted an ex parte ad interim injunction against 118 websites in Disney Enterprises vs. KimCartoon.to & Ors[2]for Disney copyright infringement. UTV Software Communication Ltd.[3] was the first case in which the dynamic injunction citing the Singapore decision, prohibiting defendants’ websites from sharing its original content without permission, and ordering ISPs to block access to those websites. More recently, another dynamic injunction was granted in Snapdeal Private Limited v Snapdealluckydraws.org.in[4] and 50 counterfeit websites violating Snapdeal’s trademark were taken down.

It is pertinent to mention that before this, Indian courts had started to use dynamic injunctions as a tool to deal with these issues, but most of these cases were limited to copyright infringement. Snapdeal’s case was the first in which such a resolution was provided for in a trademark infringement case.

CONCLUSION

The adoption of dynamic injunctions, as a tool to combat these imitators, has proven to be an effective and efficient remedy to combat digital piracy. Despite several criticisms, its efficiency and effectiveness in today’s digital age has been appreciated, especially when such acts of digital piracy and trademark infringement can mislead the general public and damage the reputation of the original right holder. of intellectual property. It is clear that these recent decisions only pave the way for a more effective system to combat digital piracy and counterfeiting.

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