The Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has ruled in favour of the BJP in the dispute over the ownership of bjp.org, rejecting claims by a firm accused of trying to link the domain with that of the Congress.
A WIPO panel held that the unregistered bjp.org belonged to the BJP since 1995.
This is the second victory for the BJP after a US-based private firm was asked by the Delhi high court to pay a fine of R5 lakh to party leader Arun Jaitley for harassing him by running a website www.arunjaitley.com and refusing to transfer the domain name to him.
The BJP had moved WIPO arbitration and mediation center in May against Vinay KM of Bangalore in May after it sent a legal notice to the Congress party, complaining about an “unauthorized link” to the AICC website from domain bjp.org. The Congress, however, denied any hand in the link up. The WIPO panel found that Vinay KM had acquired the bjp.org domain in January 1997.
“But there seems to be a lack of evidence that proves any legitimate bona fide business strategy behind getting that domain name,” the panel, which oversees uniform name dispute resolution policy, said.
Vinay KM registered a publishing business 'Bharath Journals and Publishers" in 2008. There was no legitimate activity on the domain name, except for some copied news content being published in 2008-2009
BJP’s lawyer, Pratibha Singh, contended before the WIPO panel that the violator used the domain name for “illegitimate purpose, mainly linking to the political rival of the complainant, AICC.”
The panel concluded that the BJP established through “unsolicited media references, broad media coverage...general public allusions” that “BJP is the unregistered trademark of the Bharatiya Janata Party.”