Sunday, January 22, 2012

Google Must Address Trademark Violations Problem At Blogspot Blogs

Recently we came across an interesting situation vis-à-vis Google’s Blogspot platform. This seems to be a situation over which Google has almost no control. Google allows opening of blogs if an address is already available. However, if the address is not available or it has been blocked or suspended for violation of Google’s terms and conditions, the same address cannot be used as a blog address.

However, this sensible arrangement of Google still does not prevent cyber squatters from violating trade marks and copyright of others. If somebody violates the copyright of another person, Google provides a mechanism through which such violation can be prevented or redressed. However, no such redressal mechanism seems to exist for preventing trade marks violations by malicious users using Blogspot platform.

Clearly, using well known trade marks and names as well as names and marks that have acquired a reputation, goodwill and distinctiveness by malicious users at Blogspot is a clear violation of trade marks laws of various nations.

Blog addresses at Blogspot are domain names and are entitled to domain name protection in India. We have no dedicated cyber squatting law in India and domain names are still treated as part of trade mark of the concerned owner. We are currently pursuing one such peculiar case where issues of trademarks and copyright violations are involved. Even issues of mala fide use of blogs and impersonation are involved. A DMCA complaint has also been filed with Google in this case.

What is more surprising in the present case is that mala fide users are hiding behind Google Blogspot. In our case, the accused blogger has neither provided contact information nor has he provided any other detail through which we can pursue the matter with him. In short, he is hiding behind Google’s identity and if Google does not take any action against such offenders, this would encourage more people to indulge in such acts.

If a person is not providing any contact details or other details and is even not responding to the comments posted on such platform, how can a trade mark or copyright owner pursue his/its case with him. Further, by supporting such trade mark and copyright offender, even Google may be liable for the acts or omissions of such blogger.

Many foreign companies and websites are facing a criminal trial in India for offending contents posted on their platform. With growing cases of copyright violations and trademark violations by users of such platforms and websites, the trouble of such websites is going to increase. We would come up with more details of this case once we receive or not receive an official response from Google in this regard.