The role of intermediaries in the ecommerce industry has been evolving and shaping up since inception of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Intermediaries not only provide a platform for conducting commerce and trade on the internet but also mediate between sellers and buyers from all across the world.
In the usual course of their business, intermediaries are required to observe due diligence in their activities. This includes being watchful of intellectual property rights violation on their platform. For example, an intermediary needs to take requisite steps upon finding one of its seller’s product(s) infringing someone’s IP rights, so that further infringement of such rights can be barred. Such requisite steps included removal of the content upon complaint. But the law doesn’t explicitly clarify whether it includes scrutinizing a content by the intermediary before being allowed on to the online platform. In an interesting case of Kent R.O. vs. Amit Kotak & Ors., the Single Judge of Delhi High Court spelled out the position of law on this aspect, delineating intermediaries’ obligations in case of infringement of IP rights on their website.