Delhi HC Orders WhatsApp, Telegram To Remove Fraudulent Groups Misusing Trademarks of Peak XV and Sequoia Capital
IANS 30 January 2024
The Delhi High Court has ordered messaging platforms WhatsApp and Telegram to delete groups and accounts defrauding people by misusing the trademarks of venture capital firms Peak XV and Sequoia Capital.
The suit comes after a series of financial scams proliferated online wherein scammers used the names of the firms in order to dupe the public to the extent of several lakhs and crores of rupees.
Peak XV was alerted to one such scam in December last year - a 'Pak XV' application that blatantly attempted to pass-off Peak XV's brand and trademarks, including reproducing content, from the official website to operate their website and application that offered fake investment schemes.
In September 2023, Sequoia Capital was informed about a WhatsApp group named John Analyst Group-303 managed by persons who identified themselves as Sequoia Capital Investors Advisors and Sequoia Capital BTC Trading Team, purportedly a part of the Sequoia Capital Group.
Peak XV and Sequoia Capital filed separate lawsuits before the high court on 22 January against unknown persons proliferating the identified online financial scams.
The court took note of the scams being perpetrated, and passed orders stating that the perpetrators are taking aid of Peak XV and Sequoia Capital’s standing in the market to induce unwary consumers into investing substantial amounts, and passing off Peak XV's and Sequoia Capital's respective trademarks and/or claiming an association with its personnel.
The court directed the platforms to suspend and block access to the relevant accounts and provide the requisite details of such persons to aid investigation by the authorities.
Justice Sanjeev Narula passed the order citing irreparable loss to Sequoia if not enforced.
The domain name registrar (DNR) was asked to suspend domain names used by the fraudsters, with a requirement to provide information on registrants within four weeks.
Furthermore, the ministry of electronics and information technology and the department of telecommunications were ordered to notify all telecom and internet service providers to permanently block/remove access to alleged misuses of the Sequoia trademark.
Justice Narula said that scamsters were attracting consumers using Sequoia trademarks without authorisation, affecting the firm's reputation.
The judge then issued an interim injunction to curb the misuse of the trademarks and protect unsuspecting consumers.
Now, both the matters will come up for hearing next on 31st May.
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