The court held that the word shaadi/shadi is generic and descriptive and it has not acquired any distinctiveness as claimed by the plaintiff. The court also held that Section 30(2)(a) will apply to the given situation. The court also held that it is not necessary for a domain name to be a trademark.
The court observed that the proof of secondary meaning must be of uninterrupted use of considerable longevity without a competitor attempting to use it. The court pointed out that for a word to acquire secondary meaning it must necessarily mean that the primary meaning of the expression, the one with which it began, has been lost. It is left behind. The expression no longer means what it once did. It has assumed a new avatar. It has transcended its original connotation and now references exclusively in the public mind the claimant's products, goods or services, i.e., that there is an identification of the mark with the claimant rather than with the goods or services in and of themselves. In the present case these essentials are not fulfilled.
As far as the domain name is concerned, the court observed that a web address is, technically, a mnemonic, an easy- to-recall replacement for a complex string of numbers that represent the actual Internet Protocol address (or addresses) where the website in question is to be found which is not replaceable with physical address. The court observed that a domain name is primarily an address which enjoys protection of the trademark. It is incorrect to suppose that every domain name, because it is a domain name, automatically receives the full blown protection of a mark. Therefore the domain name does not automatically receives protection under the trademark law.
The court rightly held that the word shaadi/shadi has neither assumed distinctiveness nor has it acquired a secondary meaning because it is still used to refer to a wedding or marriage and not to the website. The observations made on domain name are slightly shaky and opposite to the view taken by the courts in general. However, due to lack of laws on domain names, the jurisprudence has to be developed by the courts only.
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