The two lawsuits were brought after it was discovered that multiple bogus websites using Plaintiffs’ well-known brands ‘AMUL’ and ‘DABUR’ were soliciting business from innocent clients. It was previously stated in Dabur India Ltd. v. Ashok Kumar, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 823, dated March 03, 2022, that there were several domain names and websites functioning with the name DABUR, such as www.daburdistributor.com and https://daburdistributorships.in. The alleged websites were used to gather money from susceptible customers.
The DoT and MEITY were given orders to disable the phoney websites. It was further directed that if a person or entity registers a mark, name, company, firm, or other entity, the identity of that person is made public. In the case of domain names, however, this is not the case. Disabling the privacy protect feature appears to be necessary to ensure that the identities of those registering domain names are plainly accessible on the https://www.whois.com database, as well as other similar databases.”
The Court stated that the courts face a variety of issues in relation to domain names, mobile applications, and messaging services, where various criminal activities are carried out through the said domain names/websites, apps, and messaging services. Examples of such activities are:
- Franchises and distributorships are being offered as a way to collect money from vulnerable Indian clients and citizens.
- Counterfeit, pass-off, and knock-off products are sold.
- Use of infringing domain names for the purpose of promoting infringing websites.
- Other illegal actions include the initiation of schemes, copyright infringement, unauthorised communications, and so on.
It was also mentioned that there are numerous domain name registering businesses located all over the world that provide domain name registration services in India. A vast proportion of these businesses have no presence or presence in India. As a result, enforcing orders issued by Indian courts against these firms in the following areas has become increasingly difficult:
- The website/domain name is blocked/suspended.
- Domain name transfer,
- revealing the names and addresses of the registrants
- Even when the registrant’s data are divulged, it is frequently discovered that the registrant’s names, contact information, and other details are either non-existent or fictional.
- The manner in which these websites are used to collect payments.
The Court stated that the authorities must maintain a close eye on such registering authorities that do not have offices in India. While such organisations’ services are supplied in India and they receive significant income from India, it is clear that the orders made are not being carried out in an effective and proper manner due to a lack of real offices or assets in India.
To ensure that registrants whose identities are discovered to be fraudulent, non-existent, or whose proper information are not given do not escape injunction orders, the Court directed that domain name registrars:
- Disclose the names and contact information for all people who have registered the disputed domain names in their database;
- Disclose the amount of money they received for registering the domain name, as well as any other services they may have provided, such as website hosting, cloud services, and so on.
Ms Kripa Pandit and Mr Anirudh Bakhru are representing the petitioner.
Mr Alipak Banerjee for respondent and Mr Brijesh Ujjainwal for D-4.
D-5 is represented by Ms Geetanjali Viswanathan, Ms Kruttika Vijay, and Ms Aishwarya Kane.
D-7 is represented by Mr. K.G. Gopalakrishnan and Ms. Nisha Mohandas.
D-15 is represented by Mr. Moazzam Khan and Ms. Shweta Sahu.
Mr. Harish Vaidyanathan is a member of the Harish Vaidyanathan Group Mr. Srish Kumar Mishra, Ms. S. Bushra Kazim, and Mr. Sagar Mehlawat for UOI