E-commerce websites need not screen information before posting on its portal, Delhi High Court
By Team Legistify / 2017-03-01

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The Delhi High Court has recently held that e-commerce portals like eBay cannot be asked to screen information/ products before posting the same on its website.The decision was rendered by Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw on January 18 and was corrected and released on February 22.The case is the result of an infringement suit filed by Kent RO Systems Limited (Plaintiff) alleging infringement of its design registered under the Designs Act, 2000 (Act).

The suit was filed against one Amit Shabhulal Kotak, who is a manufacturer of water purifiers, and e-Bay, the e-commerce platform through which sellers of various products showcase and sell their products.

It was the allegation of Kent that Kotak was selling water purifier systems whose shape, look and appearance were deceptively similar. Kent further alleged that Kotak was infringing the water purifiers of the plaintiff, for which the plaintiff had registrations under the Act.

Since the products were being sold through eBay, Kent had also sought a direction to be issued to eBay to take down, remove and delist all products infringing the registered designs. Further, it had also sought prohibitory injunction from allowing products infringing the registered designs of the plaintiffs from being offered for sale and sold from the portal of eBay.

It was contended by Kent that eBay is an “intermediary” within the meaning of the IT Act and is required to devise a mechanism to verify whether the products hosted on its website infringe the intellectual property rights of any other person. The counsel for the Kent relied on Rule 3 of Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 (IT Rules) which lays down law relating to due diligence to be observed by an intermediary.

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