In the Disputes related to registering, selling or using a domain name with the intent of profiting from the goodwill of someone else’s trademark, it was held that Domain name Registrar can’t black list or block list a domain that is registered. The judgment was passed by the Bombay High Court in the case of Hindustan Unilever Limited v. Endurance Domains Technology LLP [Bom.809.2020] by Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Shri Justice GS Patel.
The facts of the case are as plaintiff (HUL) has registered www.hul.co.in and www.unilever.com.It came across third-party registered websites, such as ‘[email protected]‘, ‘unilevercare.co.in‘, ‘unilevercare.org.in‘, ‘www.unlevercare.co.in‘ which were similar to its own domain name. These domain names were registered through Endurance Domains, GoDaddy, or Porkbun. HUL approached the Bombay High Court seeking remedies. The remedies as requested by the plaintiff was the suspension and blocking access to these fraudulently registered domain names which are creating confusion in the mind of the consumer and are also taking money on a false premiseThe dispute of allowing a directive against the IN Registry was not worthy by the court seeing that it doesn’t have any control or obligation regarding registering the particular domain name. They are simply controlling the capacity of a domain name under the ‘.in’. The court pondered on the subsequent dispute put by the plaintiff who was against the domain name enlistment centers like Endurance, GoDaddy, and so forth for guaranteeing the proceeded with suspension and impeding admittance to the domain name that could be allowed.
The court sees that making any move against the domain name recorder won’t at last block the site which is just conceivable through a request by the public authority or by the court to an ISP. Likewise, Domain name enlistment centers are not answerable for guaranteeing admittance to the online source. Consequently, any such request for blocking will be inadequate. The domain name enlistment center can suspend the enrolment yet can’t block admittance to the domain name.
The court while tending to the issue of proceeded with suspension held that such suspension probably won’t be conceivable at any rate with the current innovation. Since the suspension will proceed for the finish of the enlistment time frame and when the domain name is free, it is again accessible overall which any candidate can register.
Denying the solicitation by the plaintiff to devise an appropriate system that can forestall the plaintiff to consistently come to court, the court held that –Eternal vigilance is not just the price of liberty; it is also the cost of doing large-volume business. It does not think it is for any court to come up with mechanisms to protect the Plaintiff’s interest at low or no cost, or by turning a plaintiff into judge, jury, and executioner, let alone sub-contracting out what the Court believed to be a serious judicial function of assessing and balancing rival merits. What should or should not be suspended (or blocked) is for a government to decide, not some litigant.” This case is an important part to understand the role of intermediaries involved in any such disputes. Also, this case despite granting injunction recognized that such orders for blocking should be done after judicial scrutiny.