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Rediff wins cyber-squatting case

Last updated on: July 08, 2009 16:50 IST

Rediff.com India has won a cyber-squatting case against a Latin American entity for unauthorised use of a 'confusingly similar' domain name.

Panama-based Domain Management, Pauta's International SA was using the domain name 'rediffmai.com' -- something very similar to Rediff's rediffmail.com.

The World Intellectual Property Organization part of the United Nations, has asked Domain Management to transfer the disputed Internet site to Rediff. The ruling came after Rediff filed a complaint before the UN agency on May 6 this year.

The Geneva-based WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center found that "the domain name was chosen and employed precisely for its potential commercial value in misleading Internet users familiar with the complainant's well-known and arbitrary Rediff marks".

Cyber-squatting is illegally buying and officially recording an address on the Internet that is the name of an existing company or a well-known person.

According to details available with the WIPO, a specialised agency of the UN for developing a balanced and accessible international system in the field of intellectual property rights, the domain name was registered by the Panamanian company on June 20, 2004.

The WIPO's sole panelist, W Scott Blackmer, found 'the domain name is confusingly similar' to the Mumbai-headquartered company's various Rediff marks.

According to the ruling, the disputed domain name incorporates 'Rediff'. The additional letters 'mai' are apparently meaningless and therefore non-distinctive.

The panel further noted, "They tend to heighten, rather than avoid, the possibility of confusion, because they differ only by the missing 'l' from the name of the complainant's flagship email service, rediffmail."

This is not first time that rediff.com has faced a cybersquatting dispute at the WIPO. According to Pravin Anand, the lawyer who represented rediff.com at the WIPO, the company in the past has faced over 10 such cases.

"We have represented rediff.com more than 10 times at the WIPO," Anand told PTI.

The Nasdaq-listed rediff.com holds several registered trademarks in India and the US, including 'Rediff', 'Rediff Bol' and 'Rediffmail'.

The WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center has solved the case in only 40 days, he added.

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