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‘GoDaddy, other domain registrars cannot offer domains with the word ‘Amul’,’ Delhi HC reportedly rules

The Delhi High Court has restrained domain name registrars, including GoDaddy and others, from selling domain names that have ‘Amul’ as a prefix or suffix in any combination, the Times of India reported. Domain name registrars are essentially intermediaries and are protected from liability of against illegal use of their services unless they have actual knowledge of illegal activity on their platforms.

The Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which owns the Amul brand, had gone to court in January 2019, stating that multiple websites impersonating Amul had promised jobs, franchise and distributorship opportunities, and defrauded people. The court had then issued notice to Google, GoDaddy, and others. Amul blamed Google for allowing mala fide Amul-like websites to float ads on its platform. A renowned cooperative, Amul had pointed out that its bonafide website appears well below ‘fake websites’ on Google Search.

The order, issued by Justice Mukta Gupta, restrains the following domain registrars: GoDaddy, NameCheap, Freenom, Big Rock, among others. The order also directed the Department of Telecom, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), and National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) to block access to such websites.

Victims were also asked to deposit money in bank accounts with names similar to Amul, such as Amul Brand Pvt Ltd, and Amul Union Ltd. The court has asked government banks such as State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, among others, to furnish the details of 16 account holders which received money related to the frauds.

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