AI tools can be used only for preliminary search; cannot substitute human intellect: Delhi HC

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Accuracy and reliability of AI-generated data is still in the grey area, Court said

In a recent challenge by Christian Louboutin, famous for its red sole shoes, the Delhi High Court passed a direction restraining the defendants from copying or imitating any of their designs. With respect to responses produced by the plaintiff to establish goodwill of the brand, it was added that ChatGPT and other AI tools cannot be used as a substitute for human intellect. “Responses from ChatGPT as also the one relied upon by the Plaintiffs shows that the said tool cannot be the basis of adjudication of legal or factual issues in a court of law… At best the tool can be utilised for preliminary understanding or for preliminary research and nothing more”, Court observed.

Justice Prathiba M. Singh, while allowing the petition, held, “Upon perusing the shoes of the parties and the comparative chart of a large variety of product designs which have been imitated by the Defendant that this Court arrives at the conclusion that there has been a clear intention to imitate and gain monetarily on the strength of the reputation and goodwill of the Plaintiffs. This Court has no doubt that the products of the Defendant are knock-offs or look-alikes of the Plaintiffs’ distinctive shoes and footwear.”

Defendant has reproduced all distinguishing characteristics of Plaintiff's shoes, including the prints and 'RED SOLE' and 'SPIKED SHOE STYLE, it was added.

An undertaking was agreed to by the plaintiff, in light of which no amount was imposed as damages, however, breach of the same would result in damages of Rs. 25 lakh, as cautioned by the Court.

With respect to the reliability of the data generated by AI tools, it was further added, “The response of a Large Language Model (LLM) based chatbots such as ChatGPT, which is sought to be relied upon by ld. Counsel for the Plaintiff, depends upon a host of factors including the nature and structure of the query put by the user, the training data etc. Further, there are possibilities of incorrect responses, fictional case laws, imaginative data etc. generated by AI chatbots.”

Considering the fact that the defendant was using pictures of well-known Bollywood celebrities on its social media page, orders were passed directing the defendant to pay a sum of Rs. 2 lakh as costs to the plaintiffs, within a period of four weeks.

Case Title: Christian Louboutin v. Shoe Boutique | CS (COMM.) 583 of 2023 and IA 15884 of 2023