The Delhi High Court directed Google to suspend Google Forms that were seeking information from the general public for applying to Starbucks Franchise opportunities, even though Starbucks does not have a franchise model in India.

Starbucks filed an application before the High Court seeking a decree of permanent injunction for infringement of their trademark and copyright of logos and to direct Google to suspend the URLs of Google forms posted by imposters to elicit false information relating to the Starbucks franchise.

A Single Bench of Justice Anish Dayal observed, “the plaintiffs would be entitled to the relief they seek in this application, on account of not only that these Google Forms are being posted by imposters in order to elicit information relating to Starbucks franchise (which do not exist in India) as well as seeking private information and data from the general public, which cannot be countenanced.

Advocate Rima Majumdar represented the plaintiffs, while Advocate Chhavi Arora represented the defendants.

Starbucks argued that certain imposters were seeking information from the general public to apply for Starbucks Franchise opportunities, whereas Starbucks did not work on a franchise model in India.

The Court held that “counsel for the plaintiffs has pointed out that the prayers in the plaint, inter alia, prayer (h) also refers to Google Forms and in any event their other prayers are omnibus in nature relating to any other “mode of communication” in the electronic media.

The relief sought by Starbucks also included directions to Google to suspend URLs which may come across in the future relating to the same subject matter.

In order to avoid repeated filing of applications, the Court allowed Starbucks to file an affidavit listing other URLs related to Google Forms for Starbucks franchise information. The Court directed Google to suspend those listed URLs upon receipt of the affidavit.

The court granted the liberty to Google to communicate their concerns to Starbucks if they had any reservations about suspending any particular URL. The Court held that the matter could be brought back to the Court for further adjudication and relief, if necessary.

Google was directed to provide the plaintiffs with user details of the registrants of the mentioned Google Forms, subject to Google's internal policies and regulations.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the application.

Cause Title: Starbucks Corporation & Anr. v. National Internet Exchange Of India & Ors.

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