The principles of passing off under trademark law apply to domain names in India
The Supreme Court begins by observing that several High Courts had proceeded on the basis that “the principles relating to passing off actions in connection with trademarks are applicable to domain names”. The court then proceeds to review judgments by various Indian High Courts, with regard to domain name disputes between trademark holders and domain name owners where the courts had consistently applied the law relating to passing off to domain name disputes. The case was initially filed before the City Civil Court at Hyderabad, where the court granted the plaintiff an interim injunction restraining the defendant from using the disputed domain name. The matter was then further appealed to the Supreme Court of India, which delivered a final judgment on May 6, 2004 reversing the High Court’s ruling and confirming the City Civil Court’s ruling. The court tackles the issue of whether principles of passing off under trademark law can be applied to domain names.