Domain name spoofing is not something new. It’s something that is pretty common, however most of the time the scope of the case remains contracted to the case itself. But this time the High Court has looked into the issue through a wider lens.
Meesho is an online shopping platform that has shown remarkable growth in the last few years. The Indian startup has gained major fundings from the likes of Facebook, Venture Highway, Prosus Ventures and SoftBank. This has brought the valuation of the company in excess of a Billion dollars and hence allotted it the coveted status of a Unicorn.
However, another entity was masquerading as Meesho online through the deployment of a number of fake and similar looking domain names. Along with the domain names, the fraudster also deployed bank accounts to gain payments from their victims. The domain names that were used are MeeshoGift.in, MeeshoGift.com and MeeshoOnlineLuckyDraw.in. These were used to mimic the original domain of Meesho, i.e., Meesho.com.
The fraudsters spread a fake claim of a lottery being won. The victims were lured into the platform where they had to enter their bank details and provide an initial payment to avail the offer. Obviously no offers were actually there. The Court ordered the DNR to suspend the domain names in question.
However, the court went a step ahead than this. The Court also ordered the DNR to suspend any further domain names trying to infringe upon the MEESHO mark. The Court ordered that if the DNR fails to suspend any such future domains, the Plaintiffs are free to approach the Court upon which action would be taken.
Adding to this, the Court also directed the Police to look into the growing number of fraudulent domain names trying to mimic well established brand’s domains.The Court sought a status report. This remarks a departure from general cases, where the court went a step ahead and showed concern for the rising brand impersonation online.
You can read the case in full detail here.