Delhi High Court grants john doe order in favor of Aaj Tak
Appeal u/o XXXIX Rule 1 and 2 of CPC deals with the grant of temporary injunction (it means a court order is prohibiting an action by a party to a lawsuit until there has been a trial or other court action) due to infringement of trademark, copyright, passing off, dilution, rendering off, damages, etc. Therefore, in this particular case, John Doe’s order was passed.
Justice Pratibha M. Singh
Facts of the case
The suit was filed by the plaintiff as the trademark which was registered by them i.e., “AAJ TAK” was being used by many platforms such as Google, Twitter, etc. On behalf of the plaintiff, it was contended that various platforms or websites have been launched by the plaintiff where they have used this registered trademark behalf of them.
c.1) According to the plaintiff, the defendant (1 to 30) had infringed their rights as registered trademark holders. Here, defendants are various anonymous websites, Google, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- The plaintiff has created various accounts, profiles, and handles on social media and content sharing platforms on various anonymous websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. where millions of people have subscribed to them.
- That the defendant (including the anonymous websites, defendants 31 and 33 i.e., Google & Twitter) has started using their trademark on various platforms.
- Further, various parties had also started uploading videos using infringing marks which were either derived from the mark “AAJ TAK” or the use mark “TAK” as a suffix.
- That, the defendant violates their rights as trademark holders.
- That, the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to restrain only infringing use of Plaintiff’s mark “AAJ TAK” on various media platforms.
c.2) Arguments by Defendant
- On behalf of the defendant, they are the only intermediates, and only upon a court order being passed, can the posts/ profiles/ accounts can be taken down.
- It was further argued that the word “AAJ TAK” cannot be taken down, as the same is the common expression in the Hindi Language.
Furthermore, the plaintiff filed a case under Order XXXIX Rule 3 CPC which talks about the temporary injunction. Thereafter, the Hon’ble court has passed John Doe’s order and furthermore, the case is still in dispute. Therefore, till now only a few directions have been issued:
- Wherever the mark “AAJ TAK” is being identical used on an online platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or in any of the videos, the same shall be taken down within 36 working hours including the specific URLs.
- In case of a logo or a mark with the word “AAJ” or “TAK” being contained in the mark, the social media platforms shall take down the video/pictures/ post within a period of 36 working hours.
- In a case, where the posts/videos/ posts platforms do not take down in 36 hours, intimation shall be given to Plaintiff where they are free to avail of their remedies in the law.
What is John Doe’s order?
John Doe’s order is the order issued to unidentifiable defendants. It is a type of pre-infringement injunction used to safeguard the creator’s intellectual property rights in artistic works. Well, not in this particular case John Doe’s order has been passed, in various cases such as Dabur India Limited vs. Ashok Kumar, in this particular case, the plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendants for using their registered trademark “DABUR” on various websites. The court held to explore the possibility of framing a policy under which a warning to issued to viewers to infringe the content. Further, the court also pointed out the registering domain name concealed without identity closure which leads to the infringement on a large scale. The first John Doe’s order was passed in the case of Taj Television Limited vs. Rajan Mandal, the Delhi High Court had passed John Doe’s order to restrict the unauthorized cable operators from illegal broadcasting of the World cup football matches in 2002.
From the above case law, we get to know that there are certain rights to the holders of a trademark, and whomsoever, uses the registered trademark will be held for the infringement of the trademark holders. This case is not the only case where the “AAJ TAK” trademark has been infringed. In the case of Living Media India Ltd v. Mandeep Kaur, decided on 16-11-2018. In this particular case, the High court passed a permanent injunction decree against the defendants, restraining them from using “AAJ TAK”, “AAJ TAK SAMMNE”, or any trademark deceptively or phonetically similar to the registered trademark. Thus, a decree of permanent injunction was passed in the favour of the plaintiff due to clear violations of the right and lacking bonafide on the part of defendants.
Read the order here
– Divya Bhargava, (Intern), Indore Institute of Law, Madhya Pradesh
Disclaimer: This brief is intended to provide general guidance to the subject matter. It does not contain legal advice. For any specific advice/corrections, write to [email protected]
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