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Delhi High Court Denies Dream11-Backed Rario's Plea Against MPL And Striker Rario had filed a suit against MPL and Striker, whereby it was alleged that MPL and Striker are minting and distributing NFTs that capture images of players with whom Rario has entered into exclusive license agreements

By Teena Jose

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The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea for interim injunction by Dream 11-backed cricket non-fungible token (NFT) platform Rario against rival Mobile Premier League (MPL) and Striker to prevent them from offering fantasy gaming via NFTs.

Rario, a subsidiary of Dream 11, had filed a suit against MPL and Striker, whereby it was alleged that MPL and Striker are minting and distributing non-fungible tokens (NFT) which capture images of players with whom Rario has entered into exclusive license agreements. These exclusive license agreements, it was claimed, entitle Rario alone to mint the NFTs, and distribute and allow those NFTs to be collected, traded, and licensed, to the exclusion of anyone else. Therefore, Rario claimed that the act by MPL and Striker, in launching this business of NFTs for those players - even though the images were independently created caricatures, was an act of infringement, passing off, breach of the right of publicity and unfair competition

While MPL and Striker, filed their responses, WinZo and the AIGF intervened in these proceedings, specifically highlighting that their interest in this matter was because an order in this matter may have ramifications for the entire industry that is engaged in or proposes to engage in the business of creating digital collectibles / NFTs of cricketers and players, including for the purposes of using these for fantasy gaming. Also,WinZO had filed separate petitions in the Delhi High Court in March 2023 in which it was stated that Rario may use the court order to stifle its rivals who are operating similar formats in the space The court allowed the interveners to advance submissions in addition to the submissions made by Rario, MPL, and striker.

The matter was heard at length through the course of March and then orders were reserved. Today, the Honourable Justice Amit Bansal of Delhi High Court has stated that the plaintiffs cannot claim to have an exclusive right over the use of an NFT technology that is freely available.

Abhishek Malhotra, managing partner, TMT Law Practice has opined on the matter that, "I welcome the order of the Honourable Delhi High Court which is beneficial for the industry. The court held that the use of player images does not amount to endorsement, especially as the information contained in the NFTs is publicly available and cannot be monopolised by Rario. Right of publicity, while available in the USA, is still to develop as a right in India. There is no legislation that covers this alleged right. Even if the 'right of publicity' can be said to exist as a common law right in tort, such an alleged right cannot prevail over the right of free speech."

Teena Jose

News Desk Reporter with Entrepreneur India

Teena is a post graduate in financial journalism. She has an avid interest in content creation, digital media and fashion.
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