Cybersquatting is defined as an act of registering a popular Domain name with the intent of selling it to its rightful owner at an inflated price. The Domain name may be some Company Name or a TradeMark.
In the following matter Domain Name “BarkhaDutt.com” was registered by Mr Vas Kapavarapu (the respondent) of Hyderabad on 8 January 2007 with GoDaddy. As a result, the well known journalist Ms Barkha Dutt (the complainant) filed the complaint with WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center on 22 September 2009.
Ms. Barkha Dutt v. easyticket, Kapavarapu, Vas
Case No. D2009-1247
The Complainant works with the NDTV News Channel as Group Editor and is an
anchor/host for various PrimeTime shows. The Complainant initially acquired fame as a broadcast journalist reporting from Kargil and from other conflict zones. The youngest journalist to receive the Padmashri Award, India’s highest civilian honor, she has received more than thirty national and international awards.
The Complainant claims that her name is widely recognized by the public and any reference to “Barkha Dutt” is instantly associated with her alone, as the renown Indian journalist and no other entity has rights to use the name. The Complainant states
that her name is distinctive and has acquired secondary meaning, which has
trademark significance. Her name therefore ought to be accorded protection
as a trademark and a domain name serves as an identity mark on the Internet.
The Complainant asserts that due to the fame associated with her name, she enjoys the status of a celebrity, and it is well-known that celebrities have the right to restrain third parties from exploiting their name and fame. Therefore the disputed domain name, which wholly incorporates her name, not only impinges her rights, but also causes deception and confusion to users. The Complainant states that she has not authorized the Respondent to use her name. Further, as the Respondent’s name is not “Barkha Dutt”, he has no interest in the name. The purpose of the Respondent’s registration of the domain name is for renting, selling or otherwise transferring it for valuable consideration or for deriving illegal gains by capitalizing on the fame and goodwill associated with her name.
The Respondent states that the words “Barkha” and “Dutt” are Sanskrit word… the literal dictionary meaning of the composite term “Barkhadutt” is “adaption of rain/life giving”. The Respondent further states that he had registered the disputed domain name two years ago with the intention of developing it into a fan site or blog dedicated to rains and rain harvesting.
The Respondent further states that he is the owner of several domain names and goes on to state that his collection of domain names does not include celebrity names or “copyright names”. The Respondent emphasizes that he has rights in the disputed domain name because his only intention in registration of the disputed domain name, was to run a website related to rains and rainwater preservation.
The Respondent argues that he has not used the domain name in bad faith and he denies ever having used it for gambling, pornography or any such illegal activity. The Respondent further states that he has not used the domain name in relation to journalism, which is the field of the Complainant’s work.
Discussion and Findings
The Policy requires the Complainant to establish three elements under paragraph 4(a) to obtain transfer of the disputed domain name.
(i) The domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith by the Respondent.
And as all the elements were held to be present in the said matter, therefore the Panel ordered that the domain name <barkhadutt.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Read more about the decision here…