State-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has won its legal battle over ownership rights to the Internet domain name <indianoil.org>, which was misappropriated by a US-based businessman.
IOC was granted the exclusive right to the domain name by the World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Panel. The WIPO disallowed the claim of Nitin Jindal -- the owner of web search engine GoDaddy.com -- that he was entitled to own the website, as it was deceptively similar to IOC's 'INDIAN OIL' trademark.
The ex-parte order was given by WIPO administrative panel sole member Christopher J Pibus, who said IOC has the exclusive right to use the domain name as it is a well-known company and directed Jindal to transfer ownership of the website.
"For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with... Policy and... the Rules, the panel orders that the domain name, <indianoil.org>, be transferred to the complainant (IOC)," the panel said.
The panel's order came on a complaint filed by IOC seeking a directive barring Jindal from using the domain name, indianoil.org, which was deceptively similar to its trademark.
The panel said the disputed domain name is identical to IOC's registered trademark, 'INDIAN OIL', except the addition of the web domain suffix, '.org', which alone could not distinguish it from a registered trademark.
It said Jindal was aware of IOC's trademark when he launched the website in 2005, which misled netizens to websites other than that of IOC and gave information on the business rivals of the Indian oil marketing company.
It also added there was no proof that Nitin Jindal was commonly known by the name, 'INDIAN OIL', or that he had got IOC's permission to use the domain name.
Delivering the ex-parte order, the panel said in the absence of any response from Nitin Jindal, it was ready to accept IOC's contention that 'INDIAN OIL' was its trademark, as the business is well-known and has developed a significant reputation.
The public sector fuel firm, which was ranked 105th in the Fortune Globe 500 List in 2009, got the trademark, 'INDIAN OIL', registered in 1986, while Jindal only got the domain name <indianoil.org> registered in his name in 2005.