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Intends To Encash Goodwill Of HT Media In Trademark 'Hindustan Times': Delhi High Court Grants Ex-Parte Ad Interim Injunction Against Rouge Website

Nupur Thapliyal
27 May 2022 12:54 PM GMT
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The Delhi High Court has granted ex-parte ad interim injunction in favour of HT Media Limited which runs news publications in various languages under the registered trademark Hindustan Times, against a rogue website using a deceptively similar domain name.

Passing an ex parte ad interim injunction in favour of HT Media, Justice Pratibha M Singh restrained the use of www.hindustantimes.tech, consisting of the word 'Hindustan Times'. It also restrained the website from publishing any content including articles, stories, columns, reviews, etc., being in violation of HT Media's copyright.

Perusing the printouts of the website www.hindustantimes.tech, the Court observed that various news items on the impugned website were targeted towards Indian internet users and even Delhi based internet users.

"There is no doubt in the mind of the Court that Defendant No.1 intends to encash the goodwill of the Plaintiffs in the mark/name 'Hindustan Times' and also promote its website to the Indian audience," the Court observed.

It added "The mark 'Hindustan Times' is the registered trademark of the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs commands a global viewership and the reputation of one of India's oldest newspapers. The manner in which the mark/name 'Hindustan Times' has been completely misappropriated leaves no manner of doubt in the mind of the Court that Defendant No.1 intends to misuse the said mark as also the content which is published by the Plaintiffs on their website."

It was the plaintiff's case that the impugned website offered services which were identical to those offered by HT Media, as being online journalism and news publishing services. It was thus submitted that said website was also engaged in reproducing, publishing, and making available news, articles, stories and columns created and published by the Plaintiffs on their website 'www.hindustantimes.com'.

"The manner in which 'WHOIS' details of the registrant of the website 'www.hindustantimes.tech' are completely masked shows that Defendant No.1 has taken enormous pain to not reveal its identity as to who is controlling the said domain name," the Court observed.

The Court further directed the registrar or host of the impugned website to immediately block the said domain name as also block access to website 'www.hindustantimes.tech'.

The Court also directed various internet service providers to block access to the said website in India, along with directions to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to issue directions to all the ISPs to block the impugned website www.hindustantimes.tech.

"Further, if Defendant No.1 or Defendant No.2 come up with any other website or domain name, which is deceptively similar to or consists of Plaintiffs' mark 'Hindustan Times' or 'HT Media', the Plaintiffs are permitted to approach Defendant Nos.12 & 13 for seeking directions for blocking the said website or domain name," it added.

The Court also said every Registrar is bound to enforce and implement the orders passed by the Court of competent jurisdiction, failing which ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) can be directed to terminate the agreement of accreditation with the said Registrar.

"In view of the above clause, a copy of this order is directed to be communicated to ICANN at its email address: legal-intellectual- [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] by the ld. Counsel for the Plaintiffs," the Court ordered.

Case Title: HT MEDIA LIMITED & ANR. v. WWW.HINDUSTANTIMES.TECH & ANR.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 504

Click Here To Read Order


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