No Prima Facie Case When The Plaintiff By Way Of Agreement Has Granted A Free License To Defendant Regarding Contents Of The Website

Our Associate & Mgr TMP, Ajaya Kumar V. discusses “No Prima Facie Case When The Plaintiff By Way Of Agreement Has Granted A Free License To Defendant Regarding Contents Of The Website”

Recently, Sirona Hygiene Private Limited (“Sirona Hygiene”), an award-winning and widely popular company known for its unique products catering to women’s personal hygiene, approached the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, for violation of its copyright in its web pages.

Allegedly, Sirona Hygiene has been registered as a seller on the e-commerce platforms Flipkart and Amazon since the year 2015. In furtherance of its association with the e-commerce platforms, Sirona Hygiene was granted specific numbers, namely, Flipkart Serial Numbers (“FSN”) and Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (“ASIN”). FSN and ASIN are unique numbers allotted by Flipkart and Amazon, respectively in order for sellers and consumers to identify and search for a particular product sold online by a particular seller.

At the time of registration as a seller with Flipkart and Amazon, Sirona Hygiene created web pages corresponding to the FSN and ASIN numbers pertaining to its goods. Sirona Hygiene claims to have a copyright over these web pages. Sirona Hygiene was aggrieved that Flipkart/Amazon allowed other third-parties selling identical goods to use the web pages created by Sirona Hygiene by permitting them to tag other sellers with the FSN/ASIN numbers which had been allotted to Sirona Hygiene.

Counsel representing Flipkart/Amazon denied all the contentions and to support their case brought to the notice of the court agreements which were entered between Flipkart/Amazon and Sirona Hygiene. As per the agreement Sirona Hygiene executed with Flipkart, it had agreed to grant a royalty free license to Flipkart in respect of the contents of the web pages. Further, as per the terms of the agreement and Flipkart’s seller policy, courts in Bangalore, were granted an exclusive jurisdiction to try any dispute which arose between Sirona Hygiene and Flipkart. Accordingly, Flipkart argued that the Delhi High Court did not have the requisite jurisdiction to hear the case against Flipkart.

Similarly, as per the terms of the agreement executed between Sirona Hygiene and Amazon, Sirona Hygiene had agreed to provide Amazon a royalty free license in respect of its copyright in the web pages. Further, it was also argued that, as per the ASIN creation policy, third parties selling identical goods would be tagged with the ASIN number created by Sirona Hygiene or any other sellers registered on Amazon.

Considering the nature of the agreements between Sirona Hygiene and Flipkart/Amazon, the court did not find any ground necessitating the grant of an ad interim injunction in favor of Sirona Hygiene. It would be interesting to see how in the light of the agreements executed between Sirona Hygiene and Flipkart/Amazon, Sirona Hygiene would contest the matter alleging the violation of its copyright in its web pages.

Citation: Sirona Hygiene Pvt. Ltd. v. Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. – CS(COMM) 368/2020. Order dt. 9.9.2020