Thursday, July 9, 2009

Did an Indian surrender domain name to Google?

Internet search giant Google has won a cybersquatting case at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) against an Indian who had tried to block the domain name ''.

According to the information available with the WIPO, Geneva-based WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center has ordered the transfer of domain name to the US-based search giant after Herit Shah of Gujarat offered to surrender the disputed name to Google.

Google had challenged the registering of domain name '' by Shah at WIPO stating that it was confusingly similar to its trademark on which the company has rights.

Cybersquatting is an illegal activity of buying and officially recording an address on the internet that is the name of an existing company or a well-known person, with the intention of selling it to the owner in order to make money.

As per the information available with the WIPO, Google filed the complaint against Shah on March 26 this year. However, the disputed name has been registered by Shah since September 25, 2008.

WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations for developing a balanced and accessible international system in the field of intellectual property rights.

The California-headquartered firm has been using the name 'GOOG' as a NASDAQ financial stock ticker since 2004. The company has used the trademark GOOGLE since the inception of its business in 1997.

The search giant operates a blog service under the brand 'Blogger'.

As per the details available with WIPO, a pre-complaint correspondence between the parties (Google and Shah) failed to resolve the dispute.

However on May 2, after commencement of administrative proceedings, Shah stated before the panel that the registration of domain name was in bad faith and was an infringement of intellectual property.

"I was in a bad faith that I can legally keep the domain ... I really did very unfair to Google. I sincerely apologise to Google for infringement, misuse of their intellectual property (GOOGBLOG.COM)," Shah stated.

The WIPO panel found in this case the consent-to-transfer request replaces the need to assess the matter under the elements of its Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and ordered the transfer of the domain name to Google.


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