PolicyBazaar reprimanded by Delhi High Court in a case against Acko
The High Court last week came down heavily upon PolicyBazaar for misleading the court and concealment of facts in a lawsuit filed by it against India’s first digital insurer Acko. Pronouncing in favour of Acko, the Court imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakhs on PolicyBazaar directing it to pay the same to PM relief Fund. It has also asked PolicyBazaar to submit an unconditional apology and an undertaking in court. The case pertained to use of company names in google adwords which is a very prevalent market practice amongst e-commerce companies. PolicyBazaar however in an unscrupulous manner, issued a legal notice to Acko and before Acko could respond, filed an injunction and got a restraining order against Acko by suppressing facts and misleading the Court. Court has taken a strong objection to it. PolicyBazaar claimed that Acko's use of ‘Policybazaar’ on Google ad word is in violation of the trademark law when the former itself was using Acko as an adword on google.
It may be pertinent to note that in today’s day and age where commerce has significantly moved to the digital medium, such frivolous lawsuits defeat the core philosophy of doing business online. It is also opposed to the core philosophy of Google and the digital world that seeks to present the most relevant information freely in front of the users.
This judgement creates a solid judicial precedent that will prevent occurrence of frivolous lawsuits filed with malicious intent and will protect bonafide businesses.
It may be interesting to note that Acko is India’s first digital insurance company. PolicyBazaar is an online distributor of Insurance products and while it is not a direct competitor of Acko, Acko has disrupted the age old archaic insurance sector by digitally disintermediating it and making insurance direct, commission free and transparent for consumers. It is also believed the PolicyBazaar is itself trying to get an insurance license.