WIPO evicts cyber squatter from India's SBI domain

By agencies   |   Monday, 22 August 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: An Australian entity, which hijacked the domain name of SBI Cards hoping to later sell it for a hefty sum to the State Bank of India subsidiary, has been evicted by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

WIPO, an international arbitration body that has a brief to settle disputes related to domain hijacking, or cyber squatting, has ruled in favor of SBI Cards and Payments Services Private Ltd by evicting the squatters from the site sbicards.com.

The WIPO Administrative Panel, based in Geneva, in a recent decision held that the Australian entity had constructed a website in the domain name sbicards.com "in bad faith" and ordered transfer of the domain name to the Indian company, counsel for SBI Card, Rodnay D Ryder, said.

The panel accepted SBI Card counsel's argument that "the Australian company was in the business of buying and selling domain name through its website www.domainactive.com."

Deciding the complaint filed by SBI cards, the panel held that "the Australian company has registered the domain name sbicards.com in order to prevent the owner of the trade mark or service mark from reflecting the mark as a corresponding domain name."

Ryder argued before the Panel that State Bank of India (SBI), in existence for over 200 years, had established the SBI Cards and Payment Services Private Ltd in 1998 in collaboration with GE Capital Services.

These facts along with the finding that the Australian firm had no legitimate business activity using the disputed domain name led to the ruling by the WIPO.

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