To prevent the counterfeiting of popular branded products at the marketplace, Delhi High Court directed an e-commerce platform to ensure that every item put on sale is genuine.
Justice Pratibha Singh issued the directions, stating that in the world of e-commerce, trademark owners face challenging times as sellers of infringing products seek shelter behind the platform's legitimacy and added that those sites which “ actively conspire, abet or abide, or induce” commission of unlawful acts, like sale of counterfeits, “cannot go scot-free”. “Moreover, if the sellers themselves are located on foreign shores and the trademark owner cannot exercise any remedy against the seller who is selling counterfeits on the e-commerce platform, then the trademark owner cannot be left remediless,” the court said.
According to the Information Technology Act, intermediaries includes e-commerce sites as they provide services to customers on behalf of another person, the seller. If the counterfeits do not turn out to be up to the mark, it is trademark owner's equity and customer base that is diluted or lost and the seller of such products does not suffer, the court said. 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.