BJP appeals to UDRP protecting the unregistered trademark domain name

Category: WTO Sub-category: Intellectual Property
Document type: news

11-August-2011 | 18:30 IST | Edited by: Suman Chatterjee

A person under the name, Vinay KM, using the domain name has been taken to UDRP panel for using an unregistered trademark held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India, one of the major political parties and the main opposition party in India. Been in power during 1998-2004, BJP uses their official domain name in December 1995.

According to the appeal, the violator used the domain name for illegitimate purpose, mainly linking to the political rival of the complainant, All India Congress Committee (AICC). Of course, it is not showing a different message as of now. website

 Going by the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the complainant proved that the term 'BJP' is an unregistered trademark for Bharatiya Janata Party. Through the various unsolicited media references, broad media coverage, long-term news reports and general public allusions, it is established that the complainant is indicated as BJP by media worldwide and by normal public. This brings home the point that BJP is the unregistered trademark of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Bharatiya Janata PartyThrough the various hard copies and soft copies of evidences, it was enough to ascertain that BJP is a distinct and secondary term being used and owned by Bharatiya Janata Party.

Going by the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the defendant or the violator needs to prove that he has had legitimate intention under acquiring and using that domain name. The domain name was purportedly acquired in January 1997.  But there seems to be a lack of evidence that proves any legitimate bona fide business strategy behind getting that domain name. A publishing business named 'Bharath Journals and Publishers" has been registered under the Shops and Establishment Act in the year 2008. There was no legitimate activity on the domain name, except for some copied news content being published in the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.

Moreover, there has been no evidence provided by the defendant on the nature of the publishing business even, whether it is an online publishing business or news publishing house. No names of books, journals and reports were being provided as proofs of work.

It can be inferred that the domain name was bought to misguide internet users who are searching for the trademark term to reach onto the fake website. That comes under the bad faith registration and use under paragraph 4(b) (IV) of the Policy.

The fact that the website linked to a rival political party's website even worsens the defendant's case. According to the defendant, the cross linkage was due to hacking of his account, which proves the point that his website was passive or the linkage was intentional.

The defendant claims that the domain name was bought as a part of the business strategy, and intends to use it for legitimate purposes as soon as the dispute is concluded.

External Links

Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) - Official website

Bharatiya Janata Party - Official website

Rules of UDRP - For more information