AMUL BIDS FAREWELL TO FRAUDULENT WEBSITES

Our Associate, Madhurima Gadre discusses “AMUL Bids Farewell to Fraudulent Websites”

Recently, the Delhi High Court restrained domain name registrars such as GoDaddy, Big Rock and Freenom from selling, and offering for sale, domain names including the term AMUL, with or without a prefix or suffix, in a suit filed by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (“GCMMF”). GCMMF claimed that it has received several complaints regarding fraudulent websites, which are using the well-known mark AMUL in their domain names, offering jobs, dealerships and distributorships, and asking for money to be deposited by individuals seeking these offers. The owners of the domain names resolving to such websites are thereby deceiving the public by creating an impression that their services are offered by GCMMF or its authorized representatives.

GCMMF further claimed that it had previously made representations before the above-noted domain name registrars. However, despite these representations, the registrars continued to make available domain names including the term AMUL, with or without a prefix or suffix, leading to creation of more fraudulent websites. The court concluded that GCMMF had made a prima facie case in its favour. In doing so, the court rejected the contention of one of the domain name registrars that it is not aware of any technology which can ensure that the objectionable domain names are not made available for sale. The court noted that this contention was not acceptable since the domain name registrars must be operating its filters in this regard.

It further observed that, if an ex-parte ad-interim injunction was not granted, GCMMF as well as the common public would suffer an irreparable loss. As such, the court granted an injunction restraining the above-noted domain name registrars from selling, and offering for sale, domain names including the term AMUL, with or without a prefix or suffix. It also directed the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Information Technology and National Internet Exchange of India to block access to the fraudulent websites and directed various banks to disclose details of the entities operating the fraudulent websites. 

Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. & Anr. v. AMUL FRANCHISE.IN & Ors., Delhi High Court decision dt. 28.8.2020 in CS(COMM) 350/2020