Comprehensive Guide on Cybersquatting in Trademark Act

The word cybersquatting is the unlawful registration and use, identical or similar to, trademarks, service marks, companies’ names, or personal appellations, of Internet domain names.
Nowadays, digital use has been converted into a strong platform for corporations to encourage, advertise and sell goods and services. Unfortunately, the consequence of deceptive and unauthorised behaviour, Cybersquatting, has also increased. This intellectual property is an important procedure for the protection from cybersquatting, as is trademark registration. This blog discusses the meaning and interference with the Cybersquatting of a brand identity under the Trademark Act.

Cybersquatting: A complete meaning

It is important to grasp the concept of cybersquatting before we analyse the implications of cybersquatting under the Trademark Act. Cybersquatting is sometimes called domain name squatting. Cybersquatting is a trafficked, registered domain name act to benefit from the goodwill of a person’s trademark. The cyber squatter then attempts to sell the domain to the enterprise or the individual possessing the registered trademark for an excess price. The name “squatter” derives from the fact that the squatter doesn’t rent or own or agree to use an abandoned/unoccupied area or building.

On the other hand, cybersquatting is different since the domain names that are “squatted” at the time of the registration are (sometimes, but not always) compensated by the cyber squatters.

In general, cyber squatters require far greater rates than those that they pay. Some cyber squatters post disparaging comments about the company or about how the domain is meant to encourage others to buy its domain name. Others are making a difference by placing sponsored connections on the original website that the user probably desired through advertising networks.

There are several cybersquatting varieties within the huge cybersquatting category. These variants are instances of classical cybersquatting, pseudo, cyberpiracy, and typosquatting. Classical cybersquatting is the straightforward and simple entry of a trademark domain name to make a profit from the rightful owner of the mark.

Trademarks utilise the list of the like web pages recognised as ‘cyberpiracy’ in field names with the aim of garnering more visitors. Pseudo Cybersquatting is also described as the Registration of Domain Name without utilising or connecting it with any internet sites/web pages. Also known as “blocking registrations,” they are designed to avoid utilising domain names by authorised correct holders.

New objective to spoil the brand of a new cyber squatter – cybersquatting in trademark law

The latest Cyber squatter target for defaming the brand is social media. The prominence of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook has increased a new type of cybersquatting that has been registered on well-known social media websites by designated companies or names of dignitaries and public people. Because of the popularity of social media platforms, firms have created accounts on these sites to attract more customers. Social media platforms have been offering verification tags to relevant organisations to create robust goodwill and legitimacy for their signs.

It arose, for example, that Tony La Russa’s Twitter lawsuit was voluntarily rejected; his case demonstrated the risks posed by new user name features on these services. A Cybersquatting case was brought against Twitter by St. Louis Cardinal’s Manager Tony La Russa. The problem was that a Twitter account with the name La Russa uploaded a photo of LA Russa with the title “Hey! Now Tony La Russa has a Twitter account.”

This profile urged Twitter users to keep up to speed with La Russa’s profile. The notices, like in LA Russa, were slanderous and nasty. He was informed that the profile manufacturer did this in bad faith and took advantage of the LA Russa Trademark. Following a resolution by the parties, La Russie filed an opt-out. The usage of nasty tags and reservation of usernames is most damaging to trademark owners. Facebook agreed that breach usernames may be enormous, especially if someone else is trying to build a reputation with a trademark that has long been developed by the proper owner of a trademark.

By violating the username, the owner of the trade name is prevented by the use of the well-known username by cybersquatting. Bad faith username reservation may also ruin and undermine the mark’s reputation. When someone has a username with a hostile purpose, the owner of a Trademark loses leverage of its trademark credibility.

What are cybersquatting solutions in the law or law on trademarks?

There is currently no law dealing with cybersquatting offences in India. We need stringent regulations to impose punishments for cyber squatters in order to avert probable cybersquatting crimes. On the other hand, victims in the Trademark Act or law should seek the following remedies for cybersquatting:

  • The victim may bring proceedings for arbitration under ICANN: Cyber squatters have the following choices for the victim:
  1. Introduction of a multi-trial case in India;
  2. Can issue the cyber squatter a C&D (Cease & Desist) notification. An injunction against the cyber squatter might be issued to a victim.
  • UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy): The UDRP was originally implemented by the ICANN and is part of the Registration Agreement and you are digitally agreeing to it when you purchase a domain on a website such as GoDaddy, BigRock or others. The trademark owner must select one of the recognized service providers to begin the UDRP action. The CIIFRC (Canadian International Dispute Resolution Center), as well as DNDRC, WIPO, etc. For example.

The UDRP requires that the complainant prove all three criteria below in accordance with paragraph 4(a):

  1. A trademark or service mark with the domain name of a complainant having the right to a domain name;
  2. In regard to the domain name, the offender has no right or authority;
  3. The domain name is recorded and in ill faith is utilised. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), if assessed as being present by the Panel, the following terms and conditions shall provide evidence of a domain name registration & use in bad faith:
  1. Conditions stipulating that the domain name is solely registered with the aim of renting, selling, or transfer the domain name registration to a plaintiff who is the owner of the trademark or of the service mark;
  2. The registration of the name is so that, assuming that the violation was involved in a pattern of the action, the service mark or the trademark owner cannot indicate the mark on an equal domain name;
  3. The infringer has mostly registered the domain name to break a rival;
  4. The infringement has willfully tried to attract internet users to his site or other online location for commercial benefit by utilising the domain name by causing misunderstanding with the complainant’s marking of its source, association, patronage or by endorsing its site.
  • Domain name resolving disputes policy (INDRP): INDRP that is regarded as UDRP is applicable to domain names “.in.” According to INDRP policies, any person who feels that a.IN registration registered domain name infringes their legal rights or interests can file a complaint with the.IN registry and pay the cost. As specified in the UDRP Policy paragraph 4a) and the INDRP paragraph 4, the complainant should comply.

Significance of Judiciary’s Role

Although domain names are not specified by Indian law or regulated by separate legislation, in these cases the Indian Courts utilised the Trade Marks Act of 1999.

Two types of remedies are possible, like in other situations under the Trademarks Act of 1999:

  1. Remedy of infringement
  2. Remedy of passing off

Infraction Remedy: The Trade Mark Act allows a trademark owner to use the remedy only if a trademark has been registered. Remedy of exit: In the case of the owner integrating the exit, no registration of the mark is necessary.

Yahoo! Inc. v. Akash Arora nad Anothers [1999 II AD (Delhi)] was the primary court case in which attempts were made to use the domain name “yahooindia.com” for services related to the Internet against the domain name “yahoo.com.” The court found that usually, the extent of brand similarity is crucial to an action against the domain name “yahoo.com.” When you consider both domain names, it is crystal clear that the two names are almost identical or similar, so it is possible that an Internet user is mistaken to believe that the domain names both form part and parcel of a common source, although both are of two different concern. The two of them are related to different issues.

Hon’ble High Court of Delhi Court found that “The usage of the same or similar domain name may lead to the distraction of the users, which may result from such users visiting one domain name erroneously instead of another.” In Tata Sons Limited and ARVs fashion ID Limited (2005) 140 PLR 12. This can take place in e-commerce, which enables users and potential consumers to access instantly (and erotically limitlessly) and in particular in areas of special overlaps. Users looking for features to locate under one domain name may be puzzled if they reach a different, although similar, website that does not provide such services unintentionally. These people may readily infer that, through their advertising efforts, the owner of the original domain name had misrepresented their goods or services and would therefore lose the client. It is therefore clear that a domain name might contain all of the trademark qualities and an action to be taken.”

EndNote

It is obvious that cybersquatting has a cascaded influence on the social and economic interest of society after the concept of Cybersquatting in the Trademark Act, therefore providing for a disruptive effect. Worldwide governments view cybersquatting as a serious concern. A number of efforts have been launched in different nations across the world to combat cybersquatting.

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