Cyber Squatting as we know, refers to the wrongful practice of registering well-known company or brand name/ trademark/ trade names as a domain name in view of selling them thereafter to the original and bonafide proprietor and/or adopter of such well-known company/brand names. Such activities allow the wrongful registrant to accrue quite some profit by virtue of selling the registered domain name. Such increased malpractice has led to the formation of the National Internet Exchange of India, commonly referred to as NIXI.
This non-profit organisation as formed under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956, stands as the neutral meeting point of the ISPs in India. Its main purpose is to facilitate exchange of domestic Internet traffic between the peering ISP members. This enables more efficient use of international bandwidth, saving foreign exchange. It also improves the Quality of Services for the customers of member ISPs, by avoiding multiple international hops and thus reducing latency.
Quite recently, our firm has represented and secured a victory for the prominent and famed Italian brand “FABIANA FILIPPI” in a cyber-squatting action before the NIXI. The Arbitral Tribunal as constituted by the NIXI opined that the Respondent (International Crystal), a Seoul based Corporation wrongfully adopted the domain name www.fabianafilippi.in . The members of the said Tribunal concurred to the fact that the Respondent has sought such domain registration in bad faith, having no legitimate interest in such adoption. The Respondent had purposely adopted the domain name “fabianafilippi” so that it appears deceptively and confusingly similar to the Complainants’ trademark “FABIANA FILIPPI”. The same was upheld by NIXI and it was ordered that the registered domain name www.fabianafilippi.in be transferred to Fabiana Filippi S.P.A, the Complainant herein.
In a time where people are growing brand conscious, so much so that brand names are becoming synonyms of ones class and identity in the society, corporations must take adequate steps to man not only their IPR rights vide trademark registrations, but also consider seeking certain incidental and ancillary protection, domain name registration being one of them. Such protection is advised because in as on date goods are not restricted in being sold over the counters. What we know as virtual markets, command sales. Thus creating a presence there is mandatory to maintain global identity.
With all the money that an entity squanders in maintaining their virtual shop, it would not want to slack the double in buying-back its already adopted name from third parties. Hence, all (juristic) persons must keep a watch on such parallel avenues to their trade and commerce, only then can one take timely action against such counterfeiters.
Being the acme in matters pertaining to domain name and e-commerce, L. S. Davar & Co. can keep a watch while you play your match.

As written by-

Ms. Sulagna Nandy
Trademark Attorney
L. S. Davar & Co.

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