India: DNS The Menace: Cybersquatting

Last Updated: 8 September 2015
Article by Divya Srinivasan

It is an established fact that the internet is a tool used by everyone from all walks of life. The domain name that connects us with the internet universe is one such area of internet which is raking in big bucks. They are host names that identify Internet Protocol (IP) resources such as web sites and are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). One of the main purposes of domain names is to deliver easily ascertainable, recognizable and memorisable names into an exponential address Internet source. Hence when anyone types or clicks on website then they get directed to the same.

However in recent times people not vested with rights over names of registered trademarks register them as domain names with malafide intentions and bad faith so as to ride on the existential reputation and goodwill of 'parties' and create confusion amongst the minds of consumers/potential consumers. This prevalent practice is defined as Cybersquatting; whereby an internet domain name is registered, despite being preferred by another individual with respect to their business or organization, with the idea of profit making. 'Cybersquatters' also attempt to sell the domain name to the rightful owner at a certain price so as to make fast and easy profit.

To solve domain name disputes and cybersquatting, some solutions provided include: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) under the propagated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit organization managing the DNS. WIPO provides expert opinion and credibility via governmental measures and winding up of any matter listed there takes about 2 months along with a nominal fee.

Legal Position: International

The UDRP is an internet based system that decides complaints by trademark owners when opposed to trademark conflict under domain names and controls deletion/ transfer of domain names. Any complainant may bring an action on grounds as provided under the ICANN Rules.i Once these requisites are met and registration proved then domain name registration is either cancelled or transferred to the complainant. This mechanism does not concern itself with awarding pecuniary, but is an accelerated administrative proceeding being cheap and fast, and also an easy alternative in comparison to elongated court procedures and delays.

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre maintain an online dispute resolution mechanism for managing commercial disputes involving the clash between DNS and Trademarks. It is used for both online document exchange and filing of evidence, although original documentary evidence is to be provided in physical form. Further, this is merely signed, inexpensive and an efficient service not pursuing jurisdictional issues. Remedy available to complainant is cancellation or transfer of domain name registration to themselves. Being completely an online procedure, the matter is settled at less than 45 days with the option given to parties to approach courts for resolving their disputes or further contest consequence of the procedure.

According to WIPO, in 2006, a total of 1,823 complaints alleging cybersquatting were filed with WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Centre, representing the highest number of cybersquatting cases handled by them since 2000.ii


Cybersquatting victims have many routes to tackle cybersquatting including Cease and Desist Letters, Arbitration proceedings under ICANN's rules, or court proceedings against cybersquatters. Despite whatever choice of tackling this menace is employed, any person should not ignore the serious threat cybersquatting can impose if abandoned.

The IN Registry controlled by National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) an autonomous body with primary responsibility for maintaining the .IN ccTLD (country code top-level domain) brings the matter to a fast track dispute resolution process whereby decisions are transmitted within 30 days of a complaint. The Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act) addresses numerous cybercrimes and has set up a special cyber-crimes cell, however the Act overlooks cybersquatting and domain name disputes. The only redemption for victims of such offences is that domain names may be reflected as trademarks due to use and brand repute, falling under the Trade Marks Act 1999. Though, all domain names are not trademarks, legal precedents have culled out following guidelines –

  1. The defendant should have sold/ offered its goods/ services in a manner that deceives the public into thinking that the goods/ services of the defendant are in fact the plaintiff's.
  2. Misrepresentation by the defendant to the public should be established.
  3. Loss/ likelihood of it should be established.

Although no legal compensation is provided under the IT Act, IN Registry has taken pre-emptive measures to grant compensation to victim companies to prevent squatters from further stealing domains. But most squatters function under pretence of abstruse names or identities.

Yahoo! Inc. v. Akash Aroraiii

One of the first, the plaintiff, being registered owner of the domain name "" succeeded in restraining the defendants and agents from distributing service or goods on the Internet or otherwise under the domain name "" or any other trademark/domain name which was falsely similar to the plaintiff's trademark "Yahoo".

Tata Sons Ltd v. Ramadasoftiv

Tata Sons, under the Tata Group, succeeded in evicting a cybersquatter from 10 contested internet domain names. They filed a complaint at WIPO wherein the latter settled that domain names used by Respondent were confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark TATA, hence having no rights or legitimate interests over the domain names and having registered and used said domain names in bad faith. These specifics entitled the order transferring the domain names from the Respondent to the Complainant.

Arun Jaitley vs Network Solutions Pvt. Ltd.v

The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi held that in comparison to the personal rights and the right to use trademark, the personal rights always are greater. The person is entitled to use his name as trademark and or domain name is always unconstrained for the same than any other party.


It is vital that strict laws are promulgated in this arena, refraining squatters and thereby eluding such instances in future. Cybersquatting raises an alarm for those companies involved in financial/commercial transactions; as usually squatters may dupe people, exploiting bank details for their profit. Fast track legal remedies against those who acquire domain names in bad faith, identical or confusingly similar to a trademark, should be provided. Stricter punishment by way of imprisonment and/or hefty fines may serve as a deterrent for cybersquatters and provide trademark holders a combat weapon in protecting their intellectual property in cyberspace.


i Article 3 (b) - The complaint including any annexes shall be submitted in electronic form and shall:

(ix) Describe, in accordance with the Policy, the grounds on which the complaint is made including, in particular,

1 the manner in which the domain name(s) is/are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

2 why the Respondent (domain-name holder) should be considered as having no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name(s) that is/are the subject of the complaint;

3 why the domain name(s) should be considered as having been registered and being used in bad faith.

ii WIPO, Cybersquatting Remains on the Rise with further Risk to Trademarks from New Registration Practices, WIPO Media Centre, 2007, Available at:, (Last accessed: Sept. 1, 2015).

iii Yahoo Inc. vs Akash Arora [1999 PTC (19) 201].

iv Tata Sons Ltd. vs Ramadasoft [WIPO Case No. D2000-1713].

v Arun Jaitley vs Network solutions Pvt. Ltd. [181 (2011) DLT 716].

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Divya Srinivasan
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.