LiveMint reports that GoDaddy, a global domain name registrar, is to be sued by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and one of its group firms, DotEx International Ltd., for alleged copyright and trademark infringement. It appears that the suit is based on the allegation that Manshi Systems, a Hyderabad based technology firm that was providing access to the NSE’s databases and real time trading platforms called NOW by its own software. GoDaddy was the webhosting company that hosted Manshi Systems’ website.
The plaint alleges that the suit was filed for “wrongful acts of infringement of copyright in computer database, wrongful use of primary data, and compilation of database and trademark infringement…” The report goes on to state that DotEx International “converts raw market data into various statistical formats for trade analysis and execution of trades on NOW.” It also has a database that offers its subscribers various services like calculators, security information etc. that are derived from the NSE. The site has hence been pulled down by GoDaddy which is the world’s largest domain name register in the world with about 57 million domain names.
The claim against Manshi Systems will succeed, at least in part to the extent where the infringement of a database is pleaded. Using one’s own software to communicate to the public would definitely amount to an infringement under S.51 of the Act. However, the claim for wrongful use of “primary data” appears weak. This to me seems like a claim to protect the real time information that the NSE provides, which is often extremely valuable. This would amount to a “hot news” like claim which is unlikely to succeed unless direct competition and passing off are proved (for an analysis of a similar fact situation, read here).
This also seems like the perfect opportunity to challenge the constitutional validity of the intermediary guidelines. These guidelines, although are an impressive attempt to clarify the law regarding intermediary liability and due diligence, suffer from a significant number of deficiencies like vague definitions, harsh take down procedures and major conflicts with Art.19(1)(a) of the Constitution (read here and here).
This would be an interesting dispute to observe as it deals with crucial questions of the interfaces between IP and Technology Law and will probably be of precedent setting value.