Case Number: D2018-2325
Complainant: The Indian Hotels Company
Represented by: Anand & Anand, India
The Indian Hotels Company Limited of Mumbai, India, has been found guilty of attempted Reverse Domain Name Hijacking by a panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The company had attempted to grab the domain name indianhotels.com from Roger Price, an online entrepreneur based in Guildford, United Kingdom.
The domain, indianhotels.com, was originally registered in August, 1998, and it was acquired by Price in September 2016.
The Indian Hotels Company argued it had common law trademark rights to the domain, citing its continuous use of the term in commerce, in India, since 1902. However, the WIPO panel did not buy that argument, noting the company was known, primarily since 1999, as Taj Hotels, not Indian Hotels Company Limited. The panel also observed the company began operating as “The Indian Hotel Company” only in 2018, and that same year bought the domain, theindianhotels.com.
“Simply put, Complainant’s evidence regarding the notoriety of the TAJ brand of hotels or “TAJ Group of Hotels” is largely irrelevant in proving alleged common law or unregistered rights in INDIAN HOTELS, where, as here, there is no evidence showing a systematic and continuous use of INDIAN HOTELS,” the panel wrote.
The three-member panel handed up its ruling on December 28, 2018.