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Delhi HC directs Google to suspend misleading Starbucks Franchise Google Forms

The Delhi High Court has issued a directive asking Google to suspend URLs associated with various Google Forms inviting the public to apply for a 'Starbucks Franchise'.

New Delhi, Jan 24,2024:  The Delhi High Court has issued a directive asking Google to suspend URLs associated with various Google Forms inviting the public to apply for a ‘Starbucks Franchise’.

Justice Anish Dayal said that Starbucks, which has filed the suit, is authorised to file an affidavit listing similar URLs of Google Forms. Google is then expected to suspend those URLs upon receiving the information.

Starbucks, which has gone against unidentified entities falsely claiming to be its franchisees, reiterated that an interim injunction had been granted in favour of Starbucks in April of the previous year.

The fresh application aims to restrain impostors who were posing as ‘Starbucks Franchise’ through Google Forms.

Notably, Starbucks, the multinational coffeehouse chain, does not operate on a franchise model in India.

“Counsel for the plaintiffs, therefore, states that the imposters are seeking information from general public to apply for Starbucks Franchise opportunities, which as noted above does not exist in India,” the court noted.

These fraudulent forms, with headings such as ‘StarBucks franchise’, misled individuals into believing they could apply for Starbucks franchises in India.

The court affirmed Starbucks’ entitlement to relief, citing concerns about the misuse of Google Forms by impostors to gather information related to a nonexistent Starbucks franchise in India.

Additionally, the court stressed the impropriety of seeking private information and data from the general public through such deceptive means.

It noted: “In the opinion of this Court, 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.”

Justice Dayal concluded that if Google has reservations about specific URLs, they can respond to Starbucks, and if necessary, approach the court for further adjudication and relief.

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