In 2017, UK based company Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd had filed INDRP over StarPoker.in, the same was denied by the Arbitrator Dr. Sudhir Raja Ravindran on 21 August 2017. The company holds trademark over term PokerStars but Arbitrator held the Poker Term to be generic, devoid of any distinctiveness.
The Complainant Company went under appeal against the said Arbitral Award with Delhi High Court, wherein the matter was set aside in April 2018. Honorable Delhi High Court held that:
Section 25(c) of the act makes it expressly clear that if a party fails to appear at an oral hearing or to produce documentary evidence, the Arbitral Tribunal would continue the proceedings “and make the arbitral award on the evidence before it”. Admittedly, respondent no.1 did not file any response to the petitioner‟s complaint and, thus, the Arbitral Tribunal was required to examine the evidence produced by the petitioner and decide accordingly. It was not necessary for the Arbitral Tribunal to embark on a quest to seek out evidence to counter the complaint filed by the petitioner. However, if the Arbitral Tribunal found itself compelled to, sou moto, make a detailed inquiry, it was necessary for the arbitral Tribunal to provide a full opportunity to the petitioner to respond to the evidence or the material collected by the Arbitral Tribunal.
The procedure adopted by the Arbitral Tribunal is also in violation of the principles of natural justice for the reasons stated above. Thus, the impugned award was also falls foul of Section 34(2)(b)(ii) of the Act read with Explanation 1 thereto, since it is in contravention with the fundamental policy of Indian law which requires that the party be given full opportunity to meet the case being set up against it.
This Court finds no merit in the contention that the present petition is not maintainable, as K.D. Gaming Solutions has not been made a party thereto. It is not disputed that the impugned domain name is registered in favour of respondent no.1. More importantly, K.D. Gaming Solution was not a party to the arbitral proceedings and, therefore, was not required to be impleaded in the present petition.
In view of the above, the petition is allowed and the impugned award is set aside. The parties are left to bear their own costs.
As a result, the Complainant Company seems to have been re-filed the complaint. The same has been allotted on 02 August 2018 to another Arbitrator Ms. Lucy Rana. It is interesting to note that StarPoker.in is an active website and is being legitimately in use !
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