Delhi HC Grants Meesho ‘John Doe’ Order Against Fake Websites

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The ‘John Doe’ order, or the Ashok Kumar order, is an ex-parte injunction against anonymous offenders and is used to protect the intellectual property of a creator

The SoftBank-backed unicorn had filed a suit with the Delhi High Court, asking for a permanent injunction on fake websites

The court order added that the DNRs and the ISPs will ensure that no other fake websites/domains containing the ‘Meesho’ trademark are registered

The Delhi High Court, while recognising Meesho as a ‘well-known mark’, has issued directions to check the use of the ecommerce unicorn’s trademark by bad actors. These entities have been creating fake websites in order to dupe customers by pretending to be Meesho.

The SoftBank-backed unicorn filed a suit with the Delhi High Court, asking for a permanent injunction on fake websites that were using its trademarks and/or copyright to defraud customers.

Inc42 reached out to Meesho on the matter and a response is awaited. The story will be updated as and when Meesho responds.

The ‘John Doe’ order, or the Ashok Kumar order, is an ex-parte injunction against anonymous offenders and is used to protect the intellectual property of a creator. 

The court order states that the infringing websites identified by Meesho have to be blocked/suspended by all concerned Domain Name Registrars within 48 hours. Further, the High Court directed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to issue a blocking order for such infringing domain names. 

The court order added that the DNRs and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will ensure that no other fake websites/domains containing the ‘Meesho’ trademark are registered. Also, the court has directed banks to immediately freeze accounts associated with the fake websites.

It should be noted that getting an injunction from the court is a rare event. Months back, another ecommerce unicorn, Snapdeal, had tried to get a similar injunction from Delhi High Court. However, its plea was rejected by the high court, citing that not all the alternatives to the domain name will necessarily be infringing in nature.

However, the Delhi Court had said that the DNRs will be charged with copyright infringement if they issue domain names deceptively similar to that of Snapdeal.

In both Meesho and Snapdeal’s cases, the court came to the conclusion that the DNRs should be charged with the responsibility of making sure no fraudulent websites are being created bearing similar names to that of actual ecommerce websites.

The ecommerce unicorn, backed by some of the biggest investors, saw an alleged smear campaign against it on Twitter a month ago. After the perpetrators, mostly social media influencers, were traced, Meesho sent legal notices to all of them. 

It also made headlines back in April, for all the wrong reasons as it laid off around 150 people citing restructuring within the company. The layoff came after the ecommerce major had raised $870 Mn in 2021 alone. Meesho started to roll back its grocery delivery business, Meesho Superstore, which led to the said layoffs.



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