Domain Name Protection Law In India Needed

Domain names have assumed great significance these days. This is also the reason why many individuals and organisations have shown great interest in the new generic top level domains launched by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). However, a domain name, new GTLDs and dispute resolution is not an easy task to manage.

In India we have another problem to address. We have no dedicated domain name protection law in India. Domain name protection in India is still provided under the trademark law of India. This is a serious flaw as domain names are essential part of commercial activities, e-governance and e-commerce infrastructure and we have no law that addresses violations committed against domain names.

If we continue to redress domain name violations under the existing trademark law, it may be counter productive in the long run. Of course, we use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism like arbitration to resolve domain name disputes out of the court. Surprisingly, online dispute resolution (ODR) in India has still not been considered to resolve domain name disputes on large scale in India.

The importance of domain names and corresponding stake there under have further increased due to the recent announcement of ICANN to register new generic top level domains (GTLDs). In fact, ICANN’s new generic top level domain names (new GTLDs) registration has begun and is in progress.

Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) recommend that the new GTLD applicants must undertake due diligence before applying for the same. A risks and benefit analysis of ICANN’s new GTLDs registrations must be made by individuals and companies alike.

In particular, the applicants must make a techno legal analysis, new GTLDs due diligence, anticipate possible legal rights objections under ICANN’s new GTLD program, etc. The legal issues of new GTLDs application, their registration and subsequent litigations would surface and a sound strategy in this regard can help in minimising the legal risks associated with the same.

Even after the application period for new GTLDs would be over, there is no guarantee that legal and other objections would not be raised. It is recommended by Perry4Law and PTLB to formulate a good techno legal strategy by the new GTLDs applicants for successful registration of new GTLDs in their names.

Further, we also recommend that Indian government must start the legislative process of enacting a dedicated domain name protection law for India. The sooner it is done the better it would be for the larger interest of all stakeholders.