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  • Writer's pictureVrinda Sehgal

Delhi High Court Passes John Doe Order in Favour of Indian Media Conglomerate


Recently in the case of Living Media India Limited and Anr. v. AabTak Channel.com (John Does) and Ors.,1 the Delhi High Court granted a John Doe order in favour of the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs (i.e: Plaintiff No. 1 the news publication media house, India Today and Plaintiff No. 2, the owners of the news channel “Aaj Tak”), filed a trademark infringement claim seeking to restrain 30 anonymous Defendants from infringing their trademarks as well as copyrights.


Background


The Plaintiffs claimed that they have developed goodwill and reputation over the years with regards to their mark “AAJ TAK” as well as other formative marks of “AAJ TAK”, including marks with the suffix “TAK” including but not limited to ‘Yoga Tak’, ‘Tech Tak’, ‘Sports Tak’, ‘Mobile Tak’, ‘News Tak’, ‘Astro Tak’, ‘Duniya Tak’, ‘Punjab Tak’, ‘U.P. Tak’, ‘M.P. Tak’, ‘Crime Tak’, ‘Gujarat Tak’ etc.


Further, the Plaintiffs claimed that the unknown parties had started using the trademark “AAJ TAK” on various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They also claimed that various parties had uploaded videos using infringing marks derived from the mark “AAJ TAK” or use the suffix “TAK”. In addition, the Plaintiffs also claimed that some parties were using logo forms and devices similar to the Plaintiffs’ marks.


Decision

In light of the claim, the Court observed that the Plaintiff had made out a prima facie case in its favour and granted an ad interim injunction against the Defendants directing them to take down the infringing content. The Court noted that there were infringing profiles, accounts, videos and channels that were either using identical or deceptively similar names, including logos and writing styles which is a colourable imitation of the Plaintiff’s Aaj Tak logo.


Therefore, the Court issued a John Doe order directing the Defendants to follow the rules under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and take down specific marks, videos, posts or pages within 36 hours upon receiving the URLs from the Plaintiff. Moreover, the Court also stated that in case the pages, posts or videos are not taken down within 36 hours, intimation shall be given to the Plaintiffs and accordingly they may seek appropriate legal remedies.


Conclusion


This case highlights the implementation of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and the judiciary’s willingness to comply with the said rules in the prescribed manner. Intermediaries including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were thus directed to take down infringing content accordingly.






For any questions, please contact Ms. Vrinda Sehgal at vrinda@iprattorneys.com.






1. Living Media India Limited and Anr. v. AabTak Channel.com (John Does) and Ors. CS (COMM) 193/2022 https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/delhihighcourtnicindhcqrydispoasppn75790yr2022-413941.pdf


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