The case, launched by HUL, was against unknown persons who allegedly were using its domain name to register fake websites
The Bombay high court has granted some relief to Hindustan Unilever (HUL), one of India’s largest corporate groups, in a domain name battle. The case, launched by HUL, was against unknown persons who allegedly were using its domain name to register fake websites to entice unsuspecting public into parting with significant money to become ‘authorised dealers of HUL products’.
A domain name is simply an easy-to-remember address or mnemonic for an IP address. The HC said, “Eternal vigilance is not just the price of liberty, it is also the cost of doing large-volume business.” Justice Gautam Patel directed disclosure of registrant information from three domain name registration companies. He also directed over half a dozen banks to give disclosure of transactions carried out because the amounts involved are significant.
In an urgent interim plea, HUL, argued by its counsel Virag Tulzapurkar, set out the number of fraudulent domain names registered and deceitfully used. These registrations were effected through domain name registrars — Endurance Domains, GoDaddy or Porkbun. HUL wanted the names to be continuously deregistered or blocked
Endurance Domains’s (ED’s) counsel Birendra Saraf said it wasn’t possible to continuously suspend or block the names. The HC agreed. “The very technology behind domain name registration does not permit a permanent blocking of any domain name,”explained Justice Patel. Saraf said ED substantially complied and suspended most names.
The HC said a “working protocol” is required and encouraged “all three parties to explore such a settlement so that these disputes between HUL on one side and the domain name registrars on the other do not come in the way of the real objective, which is to find the culprits behind these offending websites — currently represented in the generic”.
The HC sought replies and adjourned the matter before a regular bench.