The Delhi high court has dismissed a plea by WinZO, an online gaming application against Google’s search engine policy to display a warning to users, saying the tech giant’s warning did not prohibit or block its download.
WinZo Games Private Limited told the court that its app was available on the Google Play Store until it was converted by the plaintiff to a paid gaming platform. It further said that in November 2021, the plaintiff was informed of the defendants displaying a disclaimer/warning to users upon an attempted download of the plaintiff’s application which said, “This type of file may harm your device. Do you want to keep WinZO.apk anyway?”
On Tuesday, justice Amit Bansal, while denying relief to the gaming company, noted that Google LLC uses the warnings in respect of all third-party applications that are downloaded from the internet.
It also took note of the admitted position that the warning is in respect of all such file/application downloads and not confined to the plaintiff’s application, and is not discriminatory while adding that “on a prima facie view, this appears to be the industry practice”.
“The warning given by the defendants is in the nature of a disclaimer and does not prohibit or block the download. The users can continue to download and install the APK (Android Package Kit) files by clicking on the option of ‘Download anyway’. It may be noted that APK files/applications like that of the plaintiff are not part of the ‘Google Play’ ecosystem and therefore, the same do not undergo the various security checks and measures. Therefore, the defendants are only cautioning the user before the user proceeds to download the application,” the court said in an 11-page order.
Citing the Information Technology Rules, 2021, the court said that the law mandates such warnings to guard the user against potential threats.
The judge said that Google LLC has also provided details that such warnings are not unique to the Google Chrome browser and several other browsers also display such warnings when viewers/potential users download third-party APK files/applications from their websites.
The counsel for the gaming company had also contended that the trademark of the plaintiff is infringed/tarnished by Google LLC when naming the APK file/application ‘WinZO’ in the warning displayed for its users. He had also told the court that due to this disclaimer, the number of downloads of the application had considerably decreased.