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    Delhi High Court Passes John Doe Order to Take Down Websites Falsely Claiming to Belong to Ginger Hotels

    The Delhi High Court passed a John Doe order in favor of The Indian Hotels Company Limited (which is a part of the TATA Group) restraining fraudulent websites from unauthorized use of its trademark (“GINGER”) on May 10, 2024. John Doe orders are legal orders that allow a person/company to take legal action against an unknown party. As per the complaint filed by the Indian Hotels Company, ten different websites were using its trademarks without authorization and were also displaying original photographs of Ginger Hotels.

    What did the Indian Hotels Company argue?

    The company said it had received multiple complaints of these websites perpetrating fraud across different cities during April 2024. The fraudulent websites displayed original photographs of the hotel photographs and offered booking/reservation services while pretending to be Ginger Hotels’ official website.

    While the person/entity behind the websites is unknown, all fraudulent bookings were carried out through certain phone numbers. Once a customer contacted the phone number to make a reservation, they would be asked to make payments on account of ‘reservation charges’ to certain UPI IDs or be asked to share sensitive banking information including one-time passwords (OTPs), card details, email addresses, etc. After this information was shared, a substantial amount of money was withdrawn from the customers’ bank accounts.

    The Indian Hotels Company explained that the entity behind the websites was creating a false association with Ginger Hotels by the unauthorized use of their trademarks as part of the domain names, websites, social media handle names, email addresses, etc. Given that the websites and phone numbers were being used to perpetuate fraud, it is necessary to suspend/block them. They mentioned that the entity behind the websites infringed on their trademarks and also affected Ginger Hotels’ goodwill and reputation.

    What did the court say?

    The court held that by systematically misappropriating the trademarks to defraud customers, the entity behind the websites was causing substantial harm to the Indian Hotel Company’s reputation. As such, it granted an injunction against the websites, restraining them from using the company’s trademarks till the next date of the hearing. Further, it directed the suspension of the ten fraudulent websites by domain name registrars (DNR) asking the DNRs to provide the Indian Hotel Company with the name, contact details, and payment details of the entity that registered the fraudulent websites.

    The court asked Axis Bank, Yes Bank, and ICICI Bank to freeze/suspend operations of the bank accounts associated with the entity’s UPI IDs. The banks were also asked to provide the know-your-customer (KYC) details of the accounts attached to the UPI IDs. Further, it asked the National Payments Corporation of India to suspend the UPI IDs and provide KYC documents and details of the bank accounts associated with them. Finally, Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Jio were asked to temporarily block the contact numbers used by the entity and provide the KYC details associated with them as well.

    Also read:

    The post Delhi High Court Passes John Doe Order to Take Down Websites Falsely Claiming to Belong to Ginger Hotels appeared first on MediaNama.

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