HC: Using competitor’s trademarks in metatags to promote a business is infringement.

In one of its recent rulings, the High Court of Delhi said that using competitors’ metatags to advertise one’s own business is a violation of the trade mark owner’s rights and is subject to infringement.

The order was issued by Justice Pratibha M. Singh’s single judge bench.

Head Digital Works Pvt. Ltd. has filed a lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction against the use of metatags, which are its registered trademarks. The Plaintiff is attempting to preserve its trademarks ‘Ace2three’ and ‘A23,’ which have been registered in various classes since 2006 and 2020, respectively.

Plaintiff claims to be India’s first online rummy platform and engages in the maintenance and implementation of online gaming softwares over the internet and mobile applications. It was harmed by the defendants Tictok Skill Games Pvt Ltd.’s illegal use of its marks/metatags to promote their gaming software and mobile application on the Apple based app store, resulting in the defendants’ application appearing first before the plaintiff’s application with every user search.

It was claimed that when a user searches on the App Store for ‘A23’ or ‘Ace2three,’ the first result in the advertisement section is the Defendant’s app ‘WinZO Games.’

The plaintiffs’ lead counsel cited a recent ruling issued by the Delhi High Court in the case of MakeMyTrip India Private Limited v. Booking.com B.V., in which it was determined that Booking.com’s use of the mark “MakeMyTrip” as a keyword through the Google Ads Program constituted infringement in nature.

The Court cited the cases of Make my trip v. Booking.com and DRS logistics v. Google, concluding that the Defendant’s use of the Plaintiff’s mark as a ‘adword’ or’keyword’ on any internet platform would be a violation of the Plaintiff’s trademark rights. The defendants are not permitted to use plaintiff’s metatags on any online search engines or application-based search platforms, such as the Apple Application Store.

Parties have been ordered by the court to come before the Mediation Centre either online or physically, depending on the convenience of the parties involved.

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