Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cyber Squatting Has Increased Significantly Says WIPO

Cybersquatting, also known as domain squatting, is a process where the goodwill of a famous brand is used in bad faith to make profit out of the same. In this process domain name carrying the name of famous brands are deliberately registered so that they can be resold to the trademark owners subsequently at an exorbitant amount.

As far as India is concerned, we have no domain name protection law in India. Cybersquatting cases are decided under the Indian Trademark Act, 1999. This situation requires to be changed as soon as possible. As far as international community is concerned, it has separate mechanisms for dealing with trademark disputes and cybersquatting cases. Internationally both out of court settlements and legal proceeding are used to solve the growing cybersquatting cases.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has recently announced that Cybersquatting has hit record level, informs Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based IP and ICT law firm Perry4Law. This trend would continue in future as well, suggests Dalal. In fact, Dispute Resolution in Cross Border Technology Transactions would be one of the areas that would emerge in the near future, predicts Dalal.

Cybersquatting cases are normally resolved using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration, mediation, etc. These days even the online dispute resolution (ODR) methods are used to resolve cybersquatting disputes. For instance, WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre is one of the leading centers of the world that resolve cybersquatting and domain name disputes using ODR mechanism.

One area that requires immediate attention of international community is harmonisation of dispute resolution protocols and procedures. For instance, international harmonisation of ODR is required that is presently governed by different sets of Rules and Procedures, suggests Dalal. Institutions like WIPO, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), etc must think and work in this direction, suggests Dalal. We must also either amend the Indian Trademark Act, 1999 or enact a separate Cybersquatting Law of India, suggests Dalal.

For the time being, cybersquatting is going to stay. It is for us to decide how to fight this nuisance at national and international level.