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Prasad Patwardhan (Techno-Legal professional)     08 January 2013

Domain name resemblance issue

Recently we have come across domain name that closely resembles a well known limited company in India. Usually such attempts are made deliberately on banking domains with intention to acquire sensitive date and misuse it to gein benefits. That may not be the reason here, than mere confusion to the surfers.

Would like to to get some views 

1. How serious is it

2. does it amount to unfair parctice

3. Is there a protection in IT act

4. How to find who owns it

5. Which is the hosting agency & country

6. What action can be taken


 3 Replies




1. Seriousness of such matter lies in the degree of proximity of happenings of fraud events,and all other such aspects.




3.No.IT Act 2000(With amendments) has still a long way to go. US does have such laws because DOD invented the INTERNET almost 5 decades ago,then  known as ARPANET. Internet being a global machinary can't have a law that governs globally and difficult in deciding the jurisdiction and applicability of such law if migh existed for the sake of restricting such malpractices.


4. For your point number 4 and 5, I am providing you a link which may answer all of your question altogether.


5.Complain in UDRP. Procedure is given in the documents referred by the given link.


Hope,that be any of your help.

Note- All reply shall be considered as per my declaration given in my profile page.



Tajobsindia (Senior Partner )     08 January 2013



Value add to Mr. Sumitra's take;


How serious is it

Take: It is serious enough for an corporate entity to loose serious customers thus downfall of a well established business model by violator.

does it amount to unfair practice
Take: Yes it does and few won illustrations citatory ref. are as follows;


A. The first case in India with regard to cyber squatting was ref.: Yahoo Inc. Vs. Aakash Arora & Anr., [1999 PTC (19) 201] where the defendant launched a website nearly identical to the plaintiff’s renowned website and also provided similar services. Here the court ruled in favour of trademark rights of U.S. based Yahoo. Inc (the Plaintiff) and against the defendant, that had registered itself as


A.1 The Bombay High Court in ref.: Rediff Communication Vs. Cyberbooth & Anr [AIR 2000 Bom. 27] observed that the value and importance of a domain name is like a corporate asset of a company. In this case the defendant had registered a domain name which was similar to The court gave a decision in favour of the plaintiff.


A.2 In another case the defendant registered a number of domain names bearing the name Tata. It was held by the court that domain names are not only addresses but trademarks of companies and that they are equally important. ref.: Tata Sons Ltd Vs. Monu Kasuri & others [2001 PTC 432]


A.3 In ref.: Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd. Vs. Steven S Lalwani and Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd. Vs. Long Distance Telephone Company [Cases No D2000-0014 and 2000-0015, WIPO] the arbitration panel gave a decision in favour of the plaintiff. In this to the respondent had registered domain names and the with network solutions of the United States. These two names are similar to the names of the Plaintiff’s websites and Another important fact was that the respondent’s websites using the domain names in contention redirect the users to a different website which provided India related news.


A.4 In ref.: Satyam Infoway Ltd. Vs. Sifynet Solutions [2004 (6) SCC 145] the Respondent had registered domain names and which were similar to the Plaintiff’s domain name Satyam (Plaintiff) had an image in the market and had registered the name Sifynet and various other names with ICANN and WIPO. The word Sify was first coined by the plaintiff using elements from its corporate name Satyam Infoway and had a very wide reputation and goodwill in the market. The Supreme Court held that “domain names are business identifiers, serving to identify and distinguish the business itself or its goods and services and to specify its corresponding online location.” The court also observed that domain name has all the characteristics of a trademark and an action of Passing off can be found where domain names are involved. The decision was in favour of the plaintiff.


A.5 In 2009, Internet software company Google Inc. won a cyber squatting case against an Indian teenager who had registered a domain name The domain name, Google contended, was confusingly similar to its trademark. Experts felt that complaints regarding cyber squatting were on the rise and organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) were being approached by trademark holders to resolve such disputes. On May 15, 2009, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ordered an Indian teenager, Herit Shah (Shah), who had been using the domain name '', to transfer the rights of the domain to Google Inc. (Google).ref.: Google Inc.Vs. Herit Shah [Case No. D2009-0405, WIPO]


Is there a protection in IT act
Take: As on date, domain names are not defined under any Indian law. S. 2 (z) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, defines trademarks as marks capable of being represented graphically, distinguishing goods or services of one person from those of others. Mark is defined to include a “name” and any abbreviation thereof. The Act has a wide definition for services extending the ambit in relation to business of any commercial or industrial activity. The short point which the Court had to decide is whether a domain name has the characteristics of a trade or service which is available to potential users of the internet. The ICANN registration does not confer any intellectual property rights.


How to find who owns it
Take: By for majority of top level domains one can use this free service and for specific country level domains you may ask us we will advise the link.


Which is the hosting agency & country
Take: By or lookup.


What action can be taken
Take: By instituting Court proceedings or litigation and/or by Administrative Proceeding and by both. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center deals with domain name disputes under the new Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) applicable to generic top-level domain names adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on August 26, 1999. The WIPO Center’s Domain Name Dispute Resolution service has been established specifically to administer domain name disputes with the availability of electronic case filing facilities and a well developed case administration system.



Prasad Patwardhan (Techno-Legal professional)     08 January 2013

Thanks to both of you

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