Domain Cybersquatting

The TATA Group is one of India’s largest and most respected business conglomerates, incorporated in 2004, a JV between the TATA Group and Sky Broadcasting Group Plc. TATA endeavours to offer Indian viewers a world-class television viewing experience through its satellite television service and has become a household brand in India and generated enormous goodwill.

TATA Sky launched various services under TATASKY trade mark and has brand extension such as TATA SKY PLUS and TATA SKY HD. It also owned several domain names comprising the mark TATA SKY, including ‘tatasky.com’ and ‘tataskyplus.com’ but was unable to secure registration for its HD (high definition services) due to prior registration of ‘tataskyplushd.com’ owned by another registrant.

In December 2010, TATA filed a notice of motion with the Bombay High Court suing the Registrant of ‘tataskyplushd.com’ and requested that the domain name be transferred to it.

The Court has granted an injunction to the Plaintiff restraining the Registrant from using the domain name or any domain name similar to it, but also directed that the domain name registrant transfer the domain name ‘tataskyplushd.com’ to the plaintiff. The Court further held that only a transfer would serve the ends of justice and that a mere cancellation of domain name from the Register would not be sufficient.

This landmark decision sent a clear signal that the violation of trademark and other IP rights will be taken very seriously and that relieves will be granted even at the interlocutory stage in order to combat cyber squatting and other IP rights violations.

IPeople News’ Comment:

Cyber squatting happens everywhere in every corner of the world nowadays including Malaysia. It is therefore advisable to business owners to secure registration of their trade or service mark in their countries of interest as a basic protection before they may escalate any domain name dispute to higher authority or filing any arbitration proceedings.



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