Employees arrange clothing into boxes in the office of an Indian e-commerce company. (Photographer: Namas Bhojani/Bloomberg)

Delhi High Court Directs E-commerce Site To Clamp Down On Counterfeits

In a step towards ensuring counterfeits of popular branded products are not sold on online marketplaces, the Delhi High Court has directed an e-commerce platform to ensure that each item put up for sale on its site is genuine.

Justice Pratibha Singh issued the direction, saying 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 aide, 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 trade mark owner cannot exercise any remedy against the seller who is selling counterfeits on the e-commerce platform, then the trade mark owner cannot be left remediless," the court said.

“Needless to add, e-commerce websites and online marketplaces ought to operate with caution if they wish to enjoy the immunity provided to intermediaries.”

Also read: Can Victims Of Counterfeiting Look To E-Commerce Giants For Relief?

Intermediaries, according to the Information Technology Act, includes e-commerce sites as they provide services to customers on behalf of another person, the seller.

The court added that 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 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.