Delhi Court Restrains Getmyuni That Claimed To Be Online Educational Institution Search Portal From Using Names Of Private Universities
Delhi’s Dwarka Court has restrained Getmyuni Education Services Pvt Ltd, which claimed to be an education technology-based startup, from using the name, information and details of Usha Martin University from Jharkhand and Mangalyatan University from Uttar Pradesh on its website.
The website of the defendant claimed to provide services to its users about admission, fees, infrastructure, placement and courses offered by different universities.
The Additional District Judge Kiran Gupta noted that the plaintiffs- Usha Martin and Mangalyatan Universities had made out a strong case for protection against the defendant- Getmyuni Education Services Pvt Ltd for using their names on its website for its own economic gain and causing loss to the plaintiffs in terms of negative publicity by showing it at a later stage of the search results.
The Court has directed the defendant to delete the name, information and details about the plaintiff universities on its website i.e., www.getmyuni.com during the pendency of the suit.
Advocate Avneet Singh appeared for plaintiff-Universities whereas Advocate Udian Sharma appeared for the defendant.
It was the case of the plaintiff-Universities that they came to know that the Defendant-Getmyuni Education Services Pvt Ltd was displaying information and details about the courses offered by it including eligibilty criteria, fees structure, student ratings, affiliation/ accreditation, facilities on its website without its consent.
The plaintiff-Universites alleged that the defendant is commercially using the name of the plaintiff universities to generate traffic on its website and thereafter providing leads to other universities who pay the defendant for its services. It had assessed the loss caused to it by the conduct of the defendant at Rs. 10 lacs.
The Universities contended that the defendant offered to generate leads for numerous courses offered by the universities for a total consideration of Rs. 12 lacs.
It was argued by the counsel for the plaintiffs that the plaintiffs have prima facie shown that the defendant demanded money from it for showing the plaintiff universities in top search results and to give good ratings and when it refused, the website of the defendant is showing the plaintiff university at 24 /25 number and on third/fourth page of the search.
In the written statement filed on behalf of the defendant, it was submitted that the defendant had listed the information about the plaintiff universities that are available in the public domain, in a bonafide manner to help interested students to know about it better and deeper and that the use of the information is protected by the principle of fair dealing under the Copyright law.
The Court noted that “The defendant in its WS has stated that it is merely putting up publicly the information available regarding the plaintiff university on its website in an attempt to provide exhaustive knowledge to the students of the available universities and the courses provided by them. During arguments, it had been argued by counsel for defendant that the information is provided free of cost and the listing is based on the available information, reviews and feedbacks obtained from the students. However, the contents of the emails relied upon by the counsel for plaintiff are contrary to the submissions made by the counsel for defendant.”
On perusal of emails, the Court noted that the defendant sent the proposal to the plaintiff for payment of certain charges/ cost for “Deliverables” which includes “Top Search Listing” & “Leads and Responses” for its university on the website of the defendant.
“From the various emails placed on record by the plaintiff, it is evident that the defendant asked about the cost of “Deliverables” including “Top Search Listing”, “Leads and Responses”, of the plaintiff university. The apprehension of the plaintiff that due to non-payment of the cost of deliverables by it to the defendant has resulted in showing its university at a much lower stage of the search engine is well explained”, the Court observed.
The Court held in its two similar orders passed in two separate suits filed by the plaintiff-Universities that they have the legal right to protect their institution from negative publicity in comparison to the other universities who pay the defendant for its services for top listing.
“The plaintiff has made out a strong case for protection against the defendant for using its name on its website for its own economic gain and causing loss to the plaintiff in terms of negative publicity by showing it at a later stage of the search engine.”, the Court noted.
Thus the Court allowed the application of the plaintiff-Universities under Order 39 Rule 1 and 2 CPC and restrained the defendant from using the name, information and details of plaintiff-universities on its website.
Cause Title- Usha Martin University v. Getmyuni Education Services Pvt. Ltd.