Ruling in favour of Bharti Airtel, international IPR watchdog WIPO has directed a Saint Kitts-based company to transfer the domain name bhartiairtel.com to the domestic telecom major.
Saint Kitts-based Marketing Total had registered the domain bhartiairtel.com in its name and has been sponsoring links to other websites offering cellular phone services and sale of phones, which were closely related to telecom giant’s business.
“The domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which complainant (Bharti Airtel) has rights. The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name and it has been registered and is being used in bad faith,” said World Intellectual Property Rights Organisation (WIPO) panelist Francine Tan in his order.
WIPO is a UN agency tasked to protect intellectual property rights internationally.
Bharti Airtel (formerly Bharti Televentures), which owns the joint trade mark of Bharti and Airtel, had contended before the WIPO panel that the domain name was very similar and identical to its corporate name and also similar to the two main trade marks, Bharti and Airtel, owned by it.
Moreover, it also contended that by virtue of time, Airtel has become a house hold name in India. It was also a well known trade mark and they were sole proprietor of it.
Interestingly, respondent Marketing Total Ltd even did not filed reply over the contentions made by the telecom company.