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Tata Sons wins domain dispute

Submitted by Karthik on 29 March, 2013 - 20:44

The Delhi high court has, as expected, awarded the Tata Sons vs. Arno Palmen case over the right to the domain to the Tatas.

Tata Sons Ltd and its subsidiary Tata Infotech Ltd have won a legal battle over domain name in the Delhi High Court which restrained Arno Palmen from using it in any of its activities.

"The defendant no 1 (Arno Palmen), its servants, agents and assigns and all others acting on behalf of the defendant are restrained from conducting any business or dealing in any manner including using domain name or the word TATA or any name comprising of the same or deceptively/confusingly similar to it regarding any goods, services or domain," Justice M L Mehta said.

The court also asked Key-Systems GmBH, which is an international ICANN accredited registrar for internet addresses, to cancel registration of domain name, granted to Arno Palmen.

The aforementioned cancellation has already been done. The domain's whois record now reads:

Domain ID:D2344467-AFIN
Created On:09-Jan-2007 05:48:50 UTC
Last Updated On:27-Mar-2013 06:59:54 UTC
Expiration Date:09-Jan-2014 05:48:50 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:PDR LTD. D/b/a (R145-AFIN)
Registrant ID:DI_4957552
Registrant Name:Tata Sons Ltd.
Registrant Organization:Tata Sons Ltd.

The defendant, Arno Palmen (who was unrepresented) is clearly a cybersquatter who, as the judgement notes registered the domain "in bad faith":

The plaintiffs have contended that hey became aware of the registration of the domain name by the defendant no. 1, on February 21, 2005, when the said defendant sent an email to the plaintiff no. 2, informing them that he had registered the impugned domain name. It is also contended that the defendant in the said email had claimed that he had supposedly received an offer of purchase of this domain name for a "large sum of money" and that he wanted to inform the plaintiff about this. The plaintiffs have contended that this clearly showed that the defendant no. 1 had registered the impugned domain name only with a view to make illegal gains out of selling this domain name either to the plaintiffs or to any third party who wished to acquire it to use it in an illegitimate and mala fide manner. And that his also showed that the defendant no. 1 was very well aware of the plaintiff‟s rights over the trade name and service mark TATA INFOTECH.

To sum that up, said cybersquatter—who, in all likelihood, squats on at least a few thousand domains, if not more—sent a routine extortion e-mail to a Tata company's webmaster stating that unless they paid him a good price, he would sell the domain to a (usually non-existent) competitor. This led to the Tatas hiring a lawyer and filing a case claiming trademark infringement. In other words, the squatter expended a little of his time, spent around USD 6 for the domain, and sent an automated e-mail to the Tatas and this has resulted in the conglomerate hiring Anand and Anand, a Delhi-based legal firm, at substantial expense to approach the high court (apparently using three advocates) to reclaim the domain. There are no further repercussions for the squatter. The registrar is, similarly, sitting happy in the background content in the knowledge that another domain will continue to be pointlessly renewed year after year.

And they wonder why cybersquatting continues to persist.