Earlier, we had informed about how the Delhi High Court had instructed Domain Name Registries (DNR) to cancel any domain name related to the trademark Meesho. The Court has presented a similar stance against another brand infringement via the deployment of domain names in cases related to the brand Snapdeal.
The Delhi High Court was presented with a case where a number of domain names had been registered in relation to Snapdeal. The Court had earlier rejected the Plaintiff’s proposal to impose a blanket ban on the registration of domain names related to it. The Court had directed that each case should be looked upon on its own merit. However, in a recent judgement the Court took a different stance.
The Plaintiff had brought the Department of Telecommunications and the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) as the Defendants into the case as well. The Plaintiff presented the cases of mushrooming of domain names related to famous brands. In such a case, looking at every domain name registration individually was tiresome, for the Plaintiff as well as the Judicial authorities.
One of the most prominent DNR GoDaddy, which is also a defendant to the case, presented its policy for tackling such issues. It argued that there was an Abuse Policy in place, which led to Suspension/ Locking of domain names infringing upon trademarks, and was ready to follow directives of the Court.
The panel however, found the methodology of Abuse Policy as well as relief granted, i.e., Suspension/ Locking, insufficient to curb the rising case of domain name infringement. The Court found that DNRs even offered infringing domain names for sale without anyone asking for it.
The Court sought establishment of an Ombudsman, that could be the first filter before such cases could reach higher judicial authorities. The Court said that the Ombudsman should have the authority to Cancel/Suspend/Transfer the domain name in case they are found to be infringing upon registered trademarks. If the relief provided by such an intermediary is not agreed upon by the parties, then the doors of Courts should be approached.
This can be the beginning of an Indian Domain Dispute Resolution Authority. Many countries have their domestic Dispute Resolution Authorities, however the mentioning of the Indian origin of the Ombudsman gave it a domestic colour. India is among the fastest growing major economies of the world. The Country is witnessing an unprecedented digitalisation and with it the menace of domain name impersonation. It was time the South Asian hotshot took a step like that.