HC refuses to restrain use of PolicyBazaar trade marks on Google AdWords Program

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The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea by Policybazaar, an aggregator of insurance products, seeking to restrain the use of key words identical to its trade marks on Google’s AdWords Program by other entities. Justice Navin Chawla, while dealing with Policybazaar’s plea against the alleged use of its trademark by Coverfox Insurance Broking Pvt Ltd and Acko General Insurance Ltd on the Adwords Program, said prima facie no case of infringement was made out.

Plaintiff Policybazaar, in its lawsuits against Coverfox and Acko, claimed that the defendant companies were using key words identical to the “Policybazaar” marks like “Policy Bazaar”, “PolicyBazaar” and “Policy Bazar” with the intent of diverting business from its website by causing confusion.

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The court, in its interim order, said the suits were based on the allegations of mere use of the registered trademarks of Policybazaar as key words by the defendants in the AdWords Program and the mere appearance of the websites of the defendants as “advertisements” or as “sponsored link” was not sufficient to hold that an internet user would be confused between them.

“I am of prima facie opinion that the plaintiffs (Policybazaar and its owners) have been unable to make out a case of infringement or passing off of their trade marks by the defendants,” said the court in an order dated September 6.

The court observed that it was not the case of the plaintiff that there was any deception and in fact, the search results showed that the website of the defendants appeared as a “sponsored link”.

Further, the plaintiff itself is admittedly using the registered trademarks of one of the defendants as key words and have therefore accepted this as a fair and honest commercial practice, the court added.

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“They cannot now be heard to be complaining against the same merely because they have now realised that others may be gaining more advantage of their trade marks rather than in the reverse,” the court said.

In its order, the court clarified that its views were “merely prima facie in nature and should not be read as a conclusive and binding opinion”.

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