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Kotak Mahindra Bank won a Cyber Squatting case at WIPO

Many cyber squatters get register the domain names after famous personalities or well known companies with the reasoning that sooner or later they will use one for their Web site and pay hefty sum to them to secure the release of the domain name registered by the squatters. There was one cyber squatter namely, Y G Jo based at Seoul who with bad intent secured registration of domain name 'kotakbank.com' belonging to an Indian Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank. The bank filed a cyber squatting case at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a United Nations specialized agency in IPR) against the South Korea-based cyber squatter. The bank successfully contended at the WIPO that the name is confusingly similar to its well known brand “Kotak” and same has been registered in bad faith intent.

In India, the Information Technology Act has no remedy against the act of cyber squatting which is a type of trade mark violation. However, the trademark laws offer some protection; it is often considered cheaper by many to buy the domain name from the cyber squatter rather than to sue for its use. The US has a federal law known as the Anti-Cyber squatting Consumer Protection Act which deals with cyber squatting. The said act defines the term as “cyber squatting is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The term derives from squatting, the practice of inhabiting someone else's property without their permission”.

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