Friday, August 28, 2009
Tata Sons wins case against travel portal
Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group firms, has won a case at the World Intellectual Property Organisation against the travel portal, MakeMyTrip, which has been using the term 'tata' in one of its website, 'oktatabyebye.com'. Gurgaon-based mmt admin (commonly known as MakeMyTrip) has been using the domain name 'oktatabyebye.com'.
Tata Sons has contended that it is confusingly similar to its 'Tata' brand and the travel portal runner has no rights or legitimate interests to use it. In May, Tata Sons had moved the Geneva-based WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center demanding transfer of disputed domain name. The company had argued that the site infringed the right of its registered trademark/service mark 'Tata'. The WIPO has now ordered the transfer of domain name to Tata Sons. "The impugned website incorporates the Tata's orporate name and registered trademark in full and it proves that it is identical in part and confusingly similar to its well-known brand in which the company has a statutory right," Tata Sons had said in its complaint. Replying to the charges, MakeMyTrip had said the usage of the word 'tata' as a gesture finds its mention in the origin of a place called Ta Ta Creek as far back as in the year 1860 and denied that the domain in question is confusingly similar to the trade mark 'Tata' of the complainant. The Gurgaon-based firm stated that "the impugned domain name is derived from the common parlance 'OK Ta Ta Bye Bye' since it signifies travel, journey and related activities. But in its argument at the WIPO, Tata Sons said, 'it is apparent that the sole purpose of registering the disputed domain name is to misappropriate the reputation associated with the complainant's well-known and famous trademark Tata.'
The Internet site owner has registered a separate domain name (makemytrip.com). According to Tata Sons, both the sites offer similar services. However, MakeMyTrip says both cater to separate class of persons. While makemytrip.com offers discounts and easy access to travel plans, oktatabyebye.com lets these travelers make an online records about their journey. The WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations for developing a balanced and accessible international system in the field of intellectual property rights. As per details available with the WIPO, Tata Sons during the case had made an effort to settle the issue with the MakeMyTrip, which refused to accept the just demands on the grounds on 'vague reasons.'
This story was sent to us by Shri Siddharth Kumar, Press Trust of India.