DREAM11 defended its trademark from deceptive copies

Sporta Technologies Private Limited and Another v. Edream 11 Skill Power Private Limited

In the case of Sporta Technologies Private Limited and Another v. Edream 11 Skill Power Private Limited (I.A. 9986/2019), dated 27 February 2020, before the Delhi High Court, Sporta Technologies (Plaintiff) won the suit for permanent injunction against Edream 11 Skill Power (Defendant). It was decided by Justice Prateek Jalan. 

The Plaintiff is a well-known online fantasy sports platform whereas the Defendant is a Jaipur based entity which used the trademark ‘EDREAM 11’ to conduct an online fantasy cricket league. The Plaintiff launched its online gaming portal ‘www.dream11.com’ in 2012. They also claim to have arrangements in place with International Cricket Council (ICC), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), including for Indian Premier League (IPL). The Plaintiff also submitted to power the ‘IPL Season Long Fantasy’ which is owned by the BCCI.

The Plaintiff submitted that they were the registered trademark holders of the mark ‘DREAM 11’, its variant thereof and also the domain of ‘www.dream11.com’. The word mark ‘DREAM 11 CHAMPIONS’ is also registered by the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiff had also entered into a central sponsorship programme with BCCI for IPL, 2019 and the Plaintiff was designated as the ‘official fantasy sports provider’ by ICC for all its tournaments. 

The Plaintiff submitted that the Defendant merely added the alphabet ‘E’ to the registered trademark ‘DREAM 11’. The Defendant was then providing identical services via its website ‘www.edream11.com’ and also its mobile application. The Defendant also accepted payments for the same and the ‘Add Money to your Wallet’ option proved that the activities were commercial in nature. The Defendant also had various social media accounts with the impugned mark. 

The Plaintiff provided screenshots of email dated 4 July 2019 received by the Plaintiff which informed the Plaintiff about the infringement activities carried out by the Defendant. The Plaintiff also provided screenshots of the impugned website to show that there was violation of intellectual property rights of the Plaintiff. Thus there was a violation of the Trademark Act, 1999 and the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant was passing off their offering as that of Plaintiff.

The court held that the Plaintiff has given enough evidence from the defendant’s website and social media pages (Facebook and Twitter) to show that there was infringement by the Defendant and passing off the Plaintiff’s registered mark, ‘DREAM 11’. The mark by the Defendants was phonetically, structurally and visually similar to the one of the Plaintiff. Also, the Defendant did not appear before the court despite multiple summons.

Reliance was placed on Satya Infrastructure Ltd. & Ors. vs. Satya Infra & Estates Pvt. Ltd., [2013 (54) PTC 419 (Del)], CS(OS) 1213/2011, decided on 07.02.2013, by the Delhi High Court. It was held that when there is an uncontested suit of this nature, it is not mandatory for the Plaintiff to lead evidence. Thus a summary disposal of the suit would be permissible on the basis of the contents of the plaint supported by statement of truth and declaration under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. 

The court therefore passed an ex-parte injunction favouring the Plaintiff thereby restraining the Defendant from using the similar mark and also the domain. Thus the Plaintiff succeeded in establishing the claim for a permanent injunction against the defendant, both on the grounds of infringement of their registered trademarks and passing off.

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