A Domain Name is a combination of Typographic Characters used to describe the location of a specific location online. It is known as the Uniform Resource Locator or URL. To put it in simpler words, A Domain name is the address of the Internet without which no website can be found or traced. It is considered as the identity of a Web site. The Internet domain name is very vital nowadays for every business who wants to establish their name on the internet. For example – www.microsoft.com (Here Microsoft is the domain name)
Advantages of having a Domain Name: -
Just like trademark registration, domain name registration serves a similar purpose.
It helps the customers identify the source of goods/services.
It promotes business and helps to boost the customer base both online and offline.
Establishment of the credibility of the website and the business on the internet.
Entails easy access to consumers and prospective customers.
Domain Name Disputes:
A domain name dispute may arise in the following ways when the Domain name owner:-
Registers the name initially to exploit the “First come, first serve domain policy” by selling or transferring the domain name to the trademark owner or a competitor at greater prices. (Known as cybersquatting)
Engages in the conduct of registering trademarks of others to restrain the use of the domain name by the trademark owner;
Registers the domain name primarily to disrupt the business of a competitor; or
Attempts to deceive the users to a website for commercial gain by creating deception and confusion with the trademark owner's mark.
Filing of Complaint:
If the infringing domain name is identical or deceptively similar to the registered domain name registered by the applicant/ complainant, then the applicant has to file a complaint with the.IN Registry. Any person or entity may initiate an arbitration proceeding by submitting a complaint to the registry as per the dispute resolution policy and rules of procedure.
Grounds of Complaint:
The following are the few grounds of filing the complaint:
Identical or similar domain name registered or used by the infringer
Using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Any other relevant reason as deem fit by the registrar.
Format of Complaint:
The Complaint should be addressed to:
C/o NIXI (National Internet exchange of India)
Registered Office: Incube Business Centre 5th Floor
18, Nehru Place, New Delhi 110019
The complaint has to be in writing as per the guidelines and procedures laid down in the INDRP.
Receipt of the complaint:
If the complaint is found to be in accordance with the dispute resolution policy, the registry will forward the complaint to the respondent within 3 days on receipt of the complaint received.
If in case.IN Registry is of the opinion that the registered complaint is not according to the required format, it will communicate the identified deficiencies to the complainant within 3 days. The complainant is given 5 days' time to rectify the discrepancies, failing which the resolution process will be deemed to be withdrawn.
Note: However, the complainant will be allowed to file a fresh complaint about the same domain name.
Appointment of dispute resolution panel
After the discrepancies are corrected, the.IN registry will appoint the arbitrator within 5 days following the receipt of the complaint from the list of arbitrators maintained by the registry. The Registry will then forward the documents, complaints, and other required documents to the respondent and the Arbitrator for their reference. As per the policy, the fee has to be entirely paid by the Complainant.
Once the arbitrator is appointed, the notification of appointment is sent to the parties. The Arbitrator has to decide upon the matter as per the rules and guidelines laid down in the arbitration and conciliation act, 1996. After analyzing the case and scrutinizing the relevant documents, the arbitrator has to decide upon the matter and once arrived at a reasoned decision has to inform the respondent, complainant, and the registry within 60 days from the date of initiation of the proceeding. A further extended period of 30 days can be given to pass the order if the arbitrator so requires, however, such extension is subject to reasons in writing.
Note: No unilateral communications are allowed with the arbitrator. If any communication has to be made between the party and registry or party and arbitrator, it has to be done in a prescribed manner.
There are usually no hearings fixed or conducted either in online mode or physical mode in domain name disputes. However, the arbitrator, in its sole discretion and in exceptional circumstances, allows conducting such a hearing, if deemed to be necessary.
The decision or Arbitral award:
The arbitrator is required to analyze all the statements and documents submitted by the parties and the registry. The arbitrator has to decide the matter in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996, DRP, Rules of Procedure, and any bye-laws, rules, guidelines framed there under any law applicable.
The decision has to be given in writing, record reasons for the decision, indicate the date on which it was passed, and identify the name of the Arbitrator.
Communication of decisions to the parties:
The.IN Registry is required to communicate the full text of the decision to either of the parties within 5 days and also communicate to each party the date for implementing the decision.