(From February 24, 2000 to March 12)
According to preliminary reports the Mubai Highcourt has refused to
grant interim stay on ICICI in the Case filed by IL&FS..
The next haring is on March 21. So far so good. Let's wait and see the
case details as and when available to understand the significance.
March 10, 2000
Investsmart Vs Investmart fight on in India
A case is coming up for hearing at Mumbai between ICICI (owners of www.investmartindia.com) and IL&FS owners of (www.investsindiamart.com). Invest Smart India Ltd is a subsidiary of IL&FS and has objected to ICICI registering a similar looking domain name.
Let us not look at this as only a dispute between two parties. Let's look at the principles involved and the consequences of the dispute being decided one way or the other.
At first glance, the two names look similar. But so also would be (to
a different degree) www.investmarkets.com or investmarts.com or smartinvest.com.
Definitely investsmart.net, investsmart.org , investsmart.co.in, investmart.co.uk,
investsmart.co.sg, investsmaart.com, invest-smart.com and so on. There
are thousands of combinations of letters which would look similar to each
other when the domain name is written in English. There will be several
thousand more phonetically similar sounding names when the domain names
are written in other languages.
The technological explanation of the domain name " As a set of ascii characters which when typed at a specified place on a browser window instructs the modem and the in between routers to send a http request to a designated computer on the Internet network" also provides credence to the fact that domain name has no relation to the physical name except as an illusion.
The domain name dispute is therefore a problem that we have to live with. It is as much a problem for investmart.com to distinguish itself with investsmart.com as it is the otherway round. Today , neither can claim to have an overwhelmingly popular recognition to say that one of them would have an unfair advantage.
I therefore hope that the issue is resolved in favour of coexistence of similar looking names in the domain space.
March 9, 2000
Volkswagen and the domain name www.vw.net
In yet another significant ruling though not without controversy, the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia held
that Volkswagen was entitled to the domain name vw.net.
March 9, 2000
E-Toys Inc Vs etoy.com is settled out of court
E Toy Inc (www.etoys.com) the online trading company has dropped
its domain name dispute case against etoy.com and agreed to pay a reimburse
legal fees, in an out of court settlement. Observers feel that the owners
of the domain name etoys.com were on stronger ground because the
domain name had been registered two years before E Toys Inc commenced its
operations on the Net.
WIPO arbitration on Domain Name Disputes follow the Trade Mark protection policy.
In one of the first domain name dispute resolutions for which an arbitration
award has been announced by the WIPO committee, MP3.com chief executive
has been held to have acted in bad faith registering domain name talk-city.com.
the Details here.
March 4, 2000
Insuring against Hacking Risk
The distributed denial of service attacks that shook major web sites
last month has brought insurance agencies providing coverage for such hacker
March 3, 2000
Indian Observers React to Amazon Patent
Amazon patents "Affiliate Technology"
In yet another show of how "Patent Laws" can be used to destroy a growing industry, Amazon is reported to have patented the "Affiliate Technology" This is a widely used marketing principle today and helps in decentralised marketing of any product. While patenting of the software used by Amazon or any particular company is perfectly acceptable, patenting the Affiliate marketing process is an attempt to build a monopoly.
Now can we expect Bill Gates to patent the "Computer Operating System?" and some body else the "World wide web system" or "Chat system" or "Forum/Message Board system?" . From the indications it appears that technically these are possible in USA where "Patent Law" is being freely misapplied without any consideration for the damage that it may create to the society.
I suggest that a serious thought is given in this regard by Indian law makers so that such attempts at monopolizing the web are not allowed to proliferate.
If you fail to appreciate the damage that this trend can create, look at our TV Channels. You will find many programmes of similar structure whether in a Film Song Count down or a Quiz programme.
The question naturally arises whether the style of a programme be patented so that no body else can repeat a similar type of programme even with a different content?
Similarly, can one company patent the technology of the visual display of the technique of showing the "Stump vision view" of a cricket match in respect of an LBW appeal or the graph of a "Snickometer" to show the CBW decisions?
Extending the argument further, perhaps Sachin can patent his sweep shot and Rajnikant can patent his filmy mannerisms so that there can be no competition to them in the global trade regime lead by the WTO.
May be it is possible under law. But is it desirable?
Can we do anything to prevent such absurdities?