Internet Domain Name Dispute Resolution in India and the Role of Arbitration by Ruchi Rampuria & Vishal Thakur

Abstract: This paper tries to highlight the role of arbitration in the field of dispute arising out of domain name in India and the problems which prove a hurdle in making arbitration as an effective means of dispute resolution.

Domain name is an address of a computer network that identifies the owner of the address for example abc.com. It is used by commercial organizations to promote their products; therefore serving the function of a trademark and is thus entitled to equal protection as a trademark.

The domain name system allows every server connected to the internet, to be accessed from anywhere resulting in the trademarks registered in the domain owner’s jurisdiction being displayed in other jurisdictions, where different persons may hold the mark. Due to this unique problem, persons with the same name in several jurisdictions may stake competing claims over the same name chosen as a trademark or as a domain name by a server. The resolution of such conflicts has thrown serious challenges to the legal systems all over the globe, in view of the fact that even if there is no actual infringement, there is always a danger of trademark dilution.

In India the dispute arising out of domain name are handled under In Domain Name Disputes Resolution Policy. It provides for adjudication of all disputes arising out of the registration and use of domain names, all the disputes are resolved through the means of arbitration under The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996.

However, there are lacunas in the operation of this policy for example the IN Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy is neither a statute nor an Act also the status of an Arbitrator under the INDRP is neither that of a Judge nor that of a Judicial Officer, the Tribunal, therefore, is not a forum which can be said to provide adequate and effective machinery for the redress of all the disputes. The aim of this paper is to identify these problems and suggest a solution for the same.
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