The absence of policy whereby registered owners of trade mark are entitled to register its mark with ICANN on payment of fee with the stipulation that in case any person seeks to register a domain name consisting of the registered mark, no objection would be required to be obtained from the owner of the registered mark, similar to the one as in force in India by National Informatics Centre, was pointed by the Delhi High Court in Zee Telefilms Ltd & Ors. v. Zee, Kathmandu & Ors. (2006 (32) PTC 470(Del.)). ICANN, located in California, USA is the entity which oversees domain name registrations.
In Zee Telefilms case the plaintiffs, group companies engaged in the production of programmes/broadcasting various channels, which constituted Zee Network and whose telecast took place all over the world, filed a suit against defendant for permanent injunction restraining passing off in respect of domain names Zeetv.com, Zeecinema.com, Zeeenglish.com, Zeemgm.com, Trendz.com and Zeemusic.com. The first plaintiff was a company under the Indian laws, second plaintiff was the broadcaster and came under the Mauritius laws and the third plaintiff was the owner of the trademark Zee in several countries including India, came under the laws of British Virgin Islands. The mark "Zee" was alleged to have been adopted in 1992 and was used since then for all its business activities in India and abroad. The defendants got registered various domain names starting with the word "Zee" which were identical to the plaintiff’s channel names. The applications of the plaintiffs for registration was stated to be pending in India except ‘Trendz’ which was registered.
The court after considering all evidence passed decree in favour of the plaintiff. It came to the conclusion that the established rights of the plaintiffs in the names of the various channels were utilized by the defendants as their domain names. The court further advised to have a mechanism available globally especially in view of number of litigations filed on account of registration of domain names where the defendant, having no legitimate right in the mark and adopting the domain name with the motive of misleading the internet users, does not even appear to contest the matter.
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