This column is by Gaurav Bansal, Founder, Registrationwala
One of the first things you do while setting up a business, is look for domain name suiting your brand. There are often instances where entrepreneurs buy domain names first and then name their firm based on the best available address they can get.
Every business needs to have some address through which your prospecting customer can approach you. Since current era is digitally advanced, therefore, the presence of a business is not restricted to physical place only; company has a presence over online world as well.
But, as we all know managing business even online is not a straightforward task. Theft of domain name is one of the lesser known critical issues. People with oblique motives try to register identical or existing domain name or name which are similar to some trademark. This is technically known as Cybersquatting.
For instance, for famous sites like Amazon.com, Flipkart.com, Paytm.com etc., cybersquatters might find similar domain names to conduct fraudulent business. The low price of domain names encourages cybersquatters to register well-known domain names to make illegitimate profits.
Even the Information Technology Act doesn’t mention specifically about cybersquatting.
Modus operandi behind the cybersquatting is that cybersquatters sell the registered name to the company who owns the registered trademark or applying for trademark registration. In this manner, cybersquatters infringe the exclusive rights of the trademark owner to use its mark freely.
Domain name and Trademark are two different concepts. Even though domain names once registered, can’t be replicated by another user, domain names are not protected under Trademark Laws.
While you may be owning and running a well-established brand, nothing is stopping these cybersquatters to buy multiple domain addresses with your brand name to leverage your success. However, once you have registered your trademark and related collaterals like domain name, logo etc. you can seek legal help in such cases.
You can resort to court litigation where you can get the justice. The Court, while deciding the case relating to cyber squatting, applies the trademark laws.
The aggrieved person can get following two types of relief:
- Remedy in case of Infringement.
- Remedy of passing off.
Internet industry is only going to grow bigger every year. Strict laws are required to stop the cybersquatting and which deals this issue to avoid the crimes in future. Nonetheless, it is critical for all businesses to register their trademark
About the Author:
Gaurav Bansal is the founder of Registrationwala, an online platform for all types of business registration and management services. A Commerce graduate from Delhi University and a Chartered Accountant by profession with experience of over five years in the field of corporate laws, taxation, business advisory services and FEMA matters.
Disclaimer: This column is powered by Registrationwala
Image Credit: Squad Watch