Appoint a Grievance Manager in 7 Days: Delhi HC to Domain Name Registrars

Observing that trademark and trademark owners suffer losses from misuse of their trademarks by unauthorized websites with similar names, the Delhi High Court has ordered domain name registrars to appoint a complaints officer within one week to deal with complaints against these websites.

Domain Name Registrars (DNRs) are parties that register a website name for any applicant.

Justice Pratibha M Singh said that if the DNRs did not appoint grievance officers within that time, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) would be free to take action against them for non- compliance with local laws.

Several petitions have been filed by companies such as Dabur, Amazon, Godrej saying they have suffered losses due to inadequate verification and privacy features by DNRs. As DNRs protect the privacy of these illegal websites, there is not enough information to take action against them.

The companies said there was no effective mechanism to prevent websites or parties from using the domain name and trademark of well-known brands. “In doing so, they make money from our brand,” they said.

Petitions from these companies have stated that the use of such domain names has led some people to believe that websites hosted on certain “impostor” domain names belong to the actual owners of the mark.

Well-known trademark lawyers have said that whenever payments for the purchase of domain names are accepted, there is often a discrepancy between the name of the bank account holder in the bank statements and the name shown in the details. billing at time of purchase using the same bank account. “There is no verification to verify that the name of the account holder is the same as the name entered at the time of purchase,” they said.

During the previous hearing, the court asked MeitY to submit a progress report on the steps taken to comply with the court’s instructions.

During the hearing, no less than 35 DNRs made submissions on the appointment of their grievance officers and the mechanisms for implementing court orders.

According to Meghna Mishra, Partner at Karanjawala & Co, this detailed order will establish a guideline to reduce online fraud. “When there is a clear intent to commit fraud, DNRs can block these illegal websites, but when two parties are arguing over the same brand, the matter must be resolved in court,” she said. .

“We have to understand that some DNRs may not be under the jurisdiction of India, so a move to regulate them is welcome,” Mishra added.

The case will now be heard on December 1.