Report by Avinash Pandey

Impersonation refers to a state in which a person or a company is trying to pretend to be someone else to either take advantage of their goodwill to gain unnecessary profit or to conduct such acts which might harm the company’s acknowledgment in the market. Infringement of intellectual property refers to a process when a person is using an intellectual property registered under someone else’s ownership without their due permission for their advantage. Intellectual property infringement can be related to any type of intellectual property including trademark infringement, copyright infringement or patent infringement, etc.

The plaintiff in Amazon Seller Services PVT Ltd. Vs Amazon Buys and ORS is “Amazon” which is a very popular online marketplace when it comes to India where lakhs of people buy products and vendors indulge in business. The petitioner in this case owns the traditional intellectual property rights to its name and domain name i.e., Amazon and its logo of the brand. By following the due process of law established in India to register the intellectual property, the plaintiff has completed all the aspects in order to publicize its brand within the territorial boundaries of India.

The plaintiff contended in this case that the defendant i.e., Amazon buys was using the intellectual property of “Amazon” by having a similar domain name and using the same logo owned by “Amazon”. They further stated that this company was conducting fraud by using the name of the plaintiff as it was charging fees from the buyers and the sellers on the website which has never been demanded by “Amazon” under the established policies and processes.

The plaintiff further contended that the defendant had used the same user face on its website that “Amazon” had used and the links were also edited in a way that the customers will be directed to the defendantā€™s website even though they will be clicking verified website links. The main contention put forward was whether “Amazon buys” was infringing the intellectual property rights of “Amazon” and whether using identical logos and an identical user interface can be considered an infringement of intellectual property.

The court while observing the case had looked over all the documents presented by the plaintiff that was against the defendant including screenshots and emails from the customers saying that the price for the product displayed online was way higher compared to the competitors. The court felt that the customers were being robbed by the defendant as the customers were asked to pay more than usual. Further, the High Court observed that “Amazon”, the plaintiff in this case had established a prima facie case.

The court delivered an interim judgment in favor of the plaintiff’s services, it further stated that the defendants are ordered to immediately stop using the same logo and same website interface as that of the plaintiff. It was ordered to deactivate and remove all the social media accounts of the defendant which were impersonating the plaintiff, block the IP addresses of the people that were using the website and freeze all the bank accounts that were connected to the website. Moreover, the defendants were directed to release an affidavit for all the transactions that had been conducted. Lastly, the court ordered the Ministry of Electronic Information and Technology to block all the URLs and links that were presented by the plaintiff in the case which would direct the customers to some other website.

A petition was filed by Amazon India and Flipkart owned by Walmart in the High Court of Karnataka which sought to overturn the Competitive Commission India (CCI)’s inspection order to investigate the business affairs of these two corporations.

The high court rejected the petition paving the way for antitrust regulators to execute the inspection against both of the companies business affairs and to investigate the commercial operations of e-commerce businesses. It is the responsibility of the CCI to eliminate operations and practices of business that harm competition in Indian markets and to protect the interests of consumers to ensure free trade practices in the Indian market.

The Court also rejected Flipkart’s petition seeking to extend the suspension of the investigation for few weeks but the court could not be satisfied by the reasons put forth. in addition, they have 30 days to appeal to the court. The commission had ordered a probe against Flipkart and Amazon India in January 2021 to initiate an inspection and inquiry under article 26 (1) because it has preliminary evidence against the two corporations allegedly these corporations also offer substantial discounts to predatory consumers all these allegations made it necessary to begin the inspection against the corporations.

-Report by Muskan Chanda