Akash Aggarwal. v. Flipkart Internet Private Limited and Ors.
Recently, the Delhi High Court granted an ad-interim injunction in favour of Akash Aggarwal (“Plaintiff”) restraining Flipkart (“Defendant”) from allowing third parties to ‘latch on’ to the Plaintiff’s trade name/mark “V-Tradition”, on its e-commerce platform.
The Plaintiff is engaged in the sale of women’s clothing on various e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon and Flipkart. As per the Plaintiff, the Defendant is encouraging and allowing third party sellers to ‘latch on’ and use the Plaintiff’s name/mark along with photographs of the Plaintiff’s products, to sell their products on its platform. The Plaintiff submitted that when a third-party seller places a listing on the Defendant’s platform, it suggests the Plaintiff’s products as one of the best sellers, and allows them to add products under the Plaintiff’s name/mark along with the Plaintiff’s photographs into their listings. In support of its claims, the Plaintiff submitted affidavits from various parties who have been adversely affected by this ‘latch on’ feature on the Defendant’s platform.
The Defendant, in response, stated that the Plaintiff’s name/mark is not yet registered, and they do not have a mechanism in place to check whether a mark is entitled to protection. However, the Defendant submitted that it would take down third party listings under the Plaintiff’s name/mark.
The Court noted that permitting a third-party seller to ‘latch on’ to the Plaintiff’s name/mark and product listings on an e-commerce platform is nothing but ‘riding piggyback’ as is known in the traditional passing-off sense in the brick and mortar world, and amounts to taking unfair advantage of the goodwill that resides in the Plaintiff’s name/mark and business. The Court held that such a feature cannot be allowed to be used to the detriment of the owner of a brand, and accordingly, granted an ad-interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiff.
Akash Aggarwal. v. Flipkart Internet Private Limited and Ors., CS (COMM) 492/2022, Order dt. August 2, 2022, Delhi High Court