Cybersquatting Laws in India
Domain name is an address of a website that is intended to help web users easily find a person or business or organisation, online. Almost all businesses today have a domain name registered and involve in promoting the same amongst its customers. Hence, domain names often end up becoming a brand in itself and must be trademarked to prevent misuse. One problem faced by many online businesses with popular domain names is Cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is an offence related to the registration of a domain name by an entity that does not have an inherent right or identical trademark registration in its favour, with the sole intention to sell them to the legitimate user in order to earn illegal profits. In this article, we look at laws surrounding cybersquatting in India.
Cases involving Cybersquatting in India
One of the option available against cybersquatters in India is litigation in a court of law. The court in India has also issued various injunction restraining cybersquatters from misusing domain names. In the case of Rediff, the Bombay High Court granted an injunction restraining the defendant from using the domain name “RADIFF” or any other similar name, as it was held that when both domain names are considered, there is every possibility of internet users being confused and deceived into believing that both domain names belong to one common source and connection. Also in the case of Naukri.com, “Naukari.com” was held to be confusingly similar to that of the plaintiff, “naukri.com”, with a different spelling variant establishing prima facie inference of bad faith.
Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a domain name regulatory authority has adopted a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for dealing with cybersquatting. UDRP is incorporated into the domain registration agreement and sets the terms and conditions in connection with a dispute between the registrant and any party other than the registrar over the registration and use of an Internet domain name. The UDRP has guidelines for resolving cybersquatting and while registering a domain name, the registrant agrees to submit to proceedings commenced under Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
.IN Dispute Resolution Policy (INDRP)
The .in top level domain is operated under the authority of National Internet Exchange of India or NIXI. Hence, domain name or cybersquatting disputes pertaining to .in domains are handled by the .IN Dispute Resolution Policy and the INDRP Rules of Procedure. As per INDRP, any Person who considers that a registered domain name conflicts with his legitimate rights or interests may file a complaint to the .IN Registry on the following premises:
- the Registrant’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a name, trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
- the Registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
the Registrant’s domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.