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Reverse domain name hijacking in Shaktiman.com dispute

India firm tries reverse domain name hijacking.

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A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found Tirth Agro Technology Private Limited to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking for the domain Shaktiman.com.

“Shaktiman” is a generic word in the Hindi language that means “strength” or “might”. It’s used by many companies and is also the title of a popular Hindi television show featuring a superhero protagonist under the name of “Shaktiman”.

Historical Whois records show multiple registrants since the domain was registered in 2000, but it seems that it’s really the same company. Tirth Agro didn’t put forth any evidence (or argument) otherwise.

Tirth Agro claims trademark rights dating to 1961, but the Respondent and panelist questioned this date. The Complainant did not explain its connection to the early trademarks registered under a different company name. Nor did it explain how a first use date in a later trademark was from 1999 even though the company wasn’t incorporated until 2000. The complainant provided evidence of use since 2000 but did not submit anything for before that year.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, panelist Harini Narayanswamy wrote:

Taking into account the entire set of facts in this case, the Complainant or its counsel ought to have known of the lack of relevant evidence, which would prove to be a hurdle to establish that the Respondent had registered the disputed domain name to target its mark.

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