Friday, March 9, 2012

Trademark And Brand Protection Under New GTLDs Registration By ICANN

Of late trademark, goodwill and brand protection has become an essential part of corporate strategy. Individuals and organisations are exploring both legal and non legal methods to protect their trademarks, brands and goodwill. Further, information and communication technology (ICT) has raised novel online brand and reputation protection challenges across the globe, including India.

A good and effective brand enforcement policy is needed in India to safeguards the trademarks, brands and goodwill of Indian individuals and companies. This policy must adopt sound and legally sustainable methods alone to protect brands of their owners. For instance, online brand and reputation protection has got nasty in the recent times. Brand owners are using methods that are not legal and for protecting their brands they themselves are violating the laws of various jurisdictions.

A very significant event has recently taken place that may affect the brands of many stakeholders. ICANN’s new generic top level domain names (new GTLDs) registration has begun and is in full progress. It may violate the brands, trademarks, tradenames, etc of many owners in India, both intentionally and unintentionally.

However, we have no dedicated domain name protection law in India. Domain name protection in India is still provided under the trademark law of India. This is not an appropriate situation as a dedicated domain name protection law In India needed. This has become more important as the registration of new GTLDs would create more legal problems in future.

For instance, independent objector and legal rights objections for ICANN’s new GTLDs would be there. This has been done to resolve ownership disputes that may arise during the granting of new GTLDs. Although legal rights objection assistance for new GTLDs by Perry4Law would be provided yet we believe a full fledged and separate legislation for domain name and brand protection in India is urgently required.

The domain names, new GTLDs, ICANN and disputes resolutions require a focused approach on the part of Indian stakeholders in general and Indian government in particular. The sooner we understand this reality the better we would be equipped to safeguard our digital assets.