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PolicyBazaar to Pay a Fine of Rs. 10 Lakhs in a Trademark Infringement Suit

PolicyBazaar to Pay a Fine of Rs. 10 Lakhs in a Trademark Infringement Suit

PolicyBazaar, the online insurance aggregator, had brought about a trademark infringement suit against Acko General Insurance, another online insurance selling entity, for having infringed their trademark rights. It was alleged by the company that Acko was using the trademark “PolicyBazaar” in all its varied forms as a keyword or AdWord in order to feature on the search results for PolicyBazaar.0020

On 16 May 2019, the High Court of Delhi passed an ex-parte order of ad-interim injunction against Binny Bansal backed insurance seller Acko. This order restrained Acko from using PolicyBazaar trademark and terms deceptively similar to it such “Policy Bazaar,” “PolicyBazaar” “PolicyBazar,” and “Policy Bazar”), in any manner, form, variation and/or combination, as an ad word/keyword program through Google.

Subsequently, Acko filed for a vacation of this ad-interim injunction order dated May 16, 2019. During the course of the hearing, Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing on behalf of Acko, brought to the attention of the court that the Plaintiff company had deliberately and fraudulently chosen to conceal certain crucial facts from the court in order to obtain a favourable order. Mr Sethi argued that PolicyBazaar “concealed and distorted material facts, made misrepresentations and false statements” to obtain the ex-parte ad-interim injunction.

Apparently, PolicyBazaar itself had been using the keyword Acko for its website for over a year. This meant that if anyone wanted to search about Acko, the name of PolicyBazaar would immediately pop up on the top of the search result. That is, the website of PolicyBazaar would show up as a sponsored link in every search result for Acko.

Although PolicyBazaar did not object to the fact that it was using the keyword Acko, it emphasized that it had stopped doing that since 23 April 2019. Yet, this act of concealment on part of PolicyBazaar disappointed the court to the extent of imposing a hefty fine on them.

In his order of 28 May 2019, Justice Sanjeev Narula stated, “I have no hesitation to say the concealment has been deliberate in this case. Plaintiffs (Policybazaar) could have easily mentioned the true and correct facts before the court. Plaintiffs ought to have candidly disclosed all material facts which have a bearing on the issues of the present case.”

Observing thus, the Court directed the Plaintiffs to deposit Rs. 5 lakhs with the Prime Ministers Relief Fund and other Rs. 5 lakhs with Delhi Legal-Aid Services Authority.  It has further asked PolicyBazaar to submit an unconditional apology and an undertaking in court. The order of ad-interim injunction against Acko was also suspended till the next hearing which is scheduled on 11 July 2019.

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