Sunday 3 April 2011

Domain Name Dispute Resolution Services In India

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has recently revealed that cases of cyber squatting have increased tremendously these days. Cyber squatting is an unfair practice done with bad faith that registers well known brands as domain name. The owners of these brands are then asked to purchase the domain name at a hefty price.

Although this nuisance is well known, India has no legal framework to deal with the same. Cases of cyber squatting are also on rise in India with little option but to approach traditional courts.

We have no Domain Name Protection Law in India and Cyber Squatting cases are decided under the Indian Trademark Act, 1999 informs Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based IP and ICT law firm Perry4Law. Even Institutional Arbitration Framework has not been adequately developed by India to resolve such disputes, informs 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.

So from the point of view of both legal framework as well as institutional mechanisms, domain name dispute resolution services in India are not upto the mark. Even online dispute resolution (ODR) services in India are not upto the mark.

We have a single techno legal ADR and ODR Centre in India. Further, we have also a single techno legal ADR and ODR service provider in India. These initiatives are part of the techno legal projects and initiatives of Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB). Collectively, the exclusive E-courts training and consultancy centre of India manages the issues of ADR, ODR, e-courts, domain name dispute resolution in India, etc.

However, domain name dispute resolution through ADR or ODR is not very popular in India in the absence of international harmonisation. 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.

One area that requires immediate attention of international community is harmonisation of dispute resolution protocols and procedures. We must also either amend the Indian Trademark Act, 1999 or enact a separate Cybersquatting Law of India, suggests Dalal.

The scope of domain name dispute resolution services in India is great provided organisations like WIPO, UNCITRAL and PTLB works together in this regard. Presently, the efforts and initiatives of national and international organisations are fragmented and unorganised. Let us hope in future the situation would improve for the benefit of all concerned.