201905.12

Thesun.com: “the sun shines for everyone”

Can trademark owners such as “The Sun” prohibit third parties from registering domain names that are identical to those trademarks? The issue raised is that of weakly distinctive trademarks because of the genericity of the word or words of which they are composed. Owners of such trademarks are inexorably exposed to stiff competition in the…

201905.10

2018 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets: domain names

The role of registrars Each year, the USTR collects complaints from intellectual property rights holders. For the year 2018, the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, ASOP Global, shared its experience in a letter to the USTR on October 5, 2018. In this contribution, ASOP Global intended to address the problem of illegal drugs at the…

201904.24

HKIRC launches its registry lock

Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC) launches a new Registry lock service for the extensions it manages: .hk, .com.hk, .公司.hk, .公司.香港 et .香港. As a reminder, the registry lock allows blocking any transfer, WHOIS contact update or authoritative nameservers modification at a registry level. Actions of locking and unlocking domains obey to a specific…

201904.23

A new cityTLD is coming: .MADRID

The Spanish capital has a city-TLD .MADRID. Each and every new Top-Level-Domain is a new gateway for cybersquatters to find new opportunities, whether the new Top-Level-Domains are gTLDs (examples are recurrent as the following table shows) or geoTLDs (see, among many examples, that of ritzcarlton.tokyo). Initially scheduled for April 2019, the sunrise period will run…

201904.23

New gTLD : get prepared for the .MUSIC domain names

The wait is (almost) over! The .MUSIC new gTLD had naturally attracted many registry applicants, including Amazon, Donuts and Google. After a few Legal Rights Objections and Community objections procedures, DotMusic Limited Foundation was finally designated as the .MUSIC registry. Its program includes an advisory committee in which all the stakeholder of the music industry…

201904.14

Trademarks and domain names: it’s hard to be an acronym trademark!

At the conclusion of the WIPO D2019-0263 case, the panelist rejected the request from Groupement des cartes bancaires to obtain the transfer of the domain name cb.markets (WIPO, D2019-0263, Grouping Bank Cards v. Domain Administrator, Coinbase, Inc., April 2, 2019, denied). It is essentially on the ground of the criterion relating to the right or…

201904.04

General availability of all .uk domains

We wish to remind you that there are now less than three months left for owners of domains registered under.co.uk, .org.uk and .me.uk to secure the equivalent .uk domain. Back in 2014, the .uk registry Nominet launched this top-level domain to the market. The owners of .co.uk, .org.uk and .me.uk registrations on 28 October 2013…

201902.27

A welcome partnership between a ccTLD registry and a national industrial property office

Afnic (the registry in charge of French ccTLDs, afnic.fr) and the French National Institute of Industrial Property (inpi.fr) have announced a partnership with the view of raising awareness of trademark and domain name owners as to the need to proceed, systematically and concomitantly, with trademarks and domain name registrations. This awareness campaign will, at least…

201902.06

cnDRP: Blablacar.com.cn transferred while Blablacar.cn rejected, why?

With 800 million Internet users, China is the largest market. It is imperative to file its trademarks in China and register domain names aimed at the Chinese market at the same time as the brand is created. Trademarks and domain names must be matched as twins both in the country of origin and in foreign…

201902.05

EUIPO to finally tackle cyberquatting issues

Back in 2016, IP Twins released a communication on the increase of cybersquatting of trademark applications before the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Indeed, EUIPO currently publishes trademark applications as soon as they are filed. Cybersquatters only have to scan the EUIPO website for new application and automatically register the corresponding .COM domains in seconds,…

201901.28

.EU: Brexit calendar in case of a no deal scenario. Our advice

EURid, the .EU registry, has timed out two scenarios: in case of a no deal (Scenario 1) and in the event of an agreement between Great Britain and the European Union (Scenario 2). The latter would not start before 31 December 2020. The political context gives Scenario 1 an urgency that requires vigilance and anticipation….

201901.23

Brexit: what solutions for British owners of .EU domain names?

Read the update: “.EU: Brexit calendar in the case of a no deal scenario. Our advices”, iptwins.com, 28 January 2019 The massive rejection of the Brexit draft agreement by the British parliament is embarrassing many British companies. The issue of eligibility for certain top-level domains is one of many others. When the United Kingdom (UK)…

201901.18

Phishing: stay alert!

No, Air France or Futuroscope do not offer free tickets via the WhatsApp phone application. Last weekend, many users of the application have received fraudulent messages appearing to come from these companies. The catch is the same: “Air France offers free tickets to all to celebrate his birthday” or “Futuroscope giving 5 free tickets to 500…

201901.08

The sunrise period for the new gTLD .DEV starts on January 16, 2019

Google Registry recently announced the upcoming availability of the .DEV top-level domain. 1 Sunrise Period: January 16, 2019 – February 19, 2019 Sunrise period where trademark holders who have submitted their trademark to the Trademark Clearinghouse can register .dev domains. Sunrise for .dev. This means if you are a trademark owner and your trademark has been submitted…

201901.08

Get prepared: the .inc sunrise period is soon

IMPORTANT: Originally scheduled for January 16, 2019, the launch of .INC is postponed until March 27, 2019. See the updated calendar here. Eligibility “to be eligible to submit a Registration Request in the Sunrise Period, a Sunrise Applicant must be the registrant of a corresponding TMCH entry and the domain name sought must correspond to…

201812.20

.be adopt a new procedure for domain name deactivation

Since the 1st of December, a new procedure has been implemented in partnership by the Belgian Registry DNS Belgium and the Federal Public Service Economy (FPS Economy). This procedure allows FPS Economy to seek the deactivation of a .be domain name used in relation to fraudulent websites or Phishing activities. According to the procedure set…

201812.16

Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, a European Commission Staff Working Document

Like the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) (see iptwins.com, Nov. 22, 2018 ; iptwins.com, Nov. 20, 2018 ; iptwins Nov. 16, 2018 ; iptwins .com, Nov. 15, 2018 ; iptwins.com, Oct. 19, 2018), the European Commission has built a list of online and physical counterfeit sites (Commission Staff Working Document, Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List,…

201811.30

Counterfeiting and cybersquatting: more than one million domain names seized

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that last year more than one million domain names of websites infringing intellectual property rights had been seized: approximately 33 600 in criminal proceedings and 1.21 million in civil proceedings (ice.gov, 26 Nov. 2018). ICE reports that industry partners involved in the operation were fully responsible for…

201811.23

bmẉ.com (BMW), e-lẹclerc.com (E. Leclerc), порше.com (Porsche), קוקהקולה.com (Coca-Cola) et al.: Brief Overview of Internationalized Domain Names in WIPO UDRPs

BMW had to initiate a UDRP proceeding to get the domain name bmẉ.com [xn--bm-e3s.com], therefore containing the letter “w” with a diacritic dot. The respondent in the UDRP proceedings did not participate, and the decision appears relatively ordinary. However, it contains a reminder on an obvious but yet necessary legal point: “Previous UDRP panels have…

201811.06

Pangea XI: 859 arrests

Interpol has once again coordinated a Pangea operation (Pangea XI) to destabilize the networks involved in counterfeit pharmaceutical and medical products. Interpol closely collaborated with institutions and companies deeply involved, willingly or not, in the fight against counterfeiting: the World Customs Organization (WCO); the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC); the Heads of Medicines…

201811.06

Press Review on Counterfeiting (October 2018)

Belgium As part of the Pangea XI operation, the Belgian customs, in collaboration with the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP), controlled 14,464 packages, of which 622 contained medicines or health products. Of these, 141 were seized. They included 28,689 counterfeit products (rtbf.be, 23 oct. 2018). In Brussels, in the Agora gallery, an…

201810.27

PAP (real estate ads) v. PapAuto (car ads): no risk of confusion, and the reputation of the “PAP” is not demonstrated

Éditions Neressis is a French company that runs a real estate website called “PAP, Particulier à Particulier”. This company owns the French trademark No. 1518035 “P.A.P. Particulier à Particulier” (classes 16, 35 and 41), the European Union trademark No. 006701973 “PAP” (classes 16, 35, 38, 41), and the domain name pap.fr. This website pap.fr is…

201810.23

Skyscanner loses UDRP complaint in surprising decision

On 5th October 2018, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre published a decision related to the domain name fly-scanner.com and ordered that the domain name remains with the respondent (D2018-1782). This decision may appear as surprising at first sight given Skyscanner’s huge market share and 60 million active users. Let’s try and understand the decision. The Complainant…

201810.22

Louis Vuitton Combats Online Counterfeiting Before a Florida Court

Louis Vuitton is suing 23 natural and legal persons in Florida for various infringements of its trademarks (Case 0: 18-cv-62354-CMA). Not less than 120 domain names and websites are concerned. Some domain names reproduce Louis Vuitton trademarks (eg louisvuittonbag.site, uslouisvuitton.co, prezzi-lvborse.org), while others include a term indicating the likely presence of counterfeits (eg: aaaimitationbags.com, fashionfakeseason.com,…

201809.27

Cambridge.org v. Carnbridge.org: a UDRP Case on Typosquatting and Identity Theft

The University of Cambridge started a UDRP proceeding under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center to obtain the transfer of the unsettling domain name carnbridge.org. The transfer of the domain name was ordered (WIPO, D2018-1542, The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge v. Sunny Legend, September…

201809.13

What to Do With Domain Names Such as starbucksnestle.com and starbucks-nestle.com?

The announcement of a commercial partnership between Nestlé (nestle.com, May 7, 2018) and Starbucks (starbucks.com, August 28, 2018) led to cybersquatting cases. Many domain names combining the “nestle” and “starbucks” trademarks were registered. DRP proceedings were initiated, including the D2018-1183 procedure undertaken by the Nestlé Products Corporation against a US citizen who had registered two…

201809.04

On Your Marks, .SPORT Kicks Off!

The new gTLD .SPORT targets federations, sports organizations, clubs, teams, their athletes, their sponsors, but also sports brands and the media. SPORTt has its rules, so the .SPORT. Eligibility rules apply. The choice of domain names is not free and, for now, the time of registration either. First Rule: Eligibility Sport is for everyone, not the…

201808.31

Cybersquatting: Back to Basics

Can a company (company A) register a domain name (say companyb.com) that is identical to the trademark of its main competitor (company B), and redirects it to its own website (companya.com)? Surprisingly, it appears that the issue still deserves to be raised. Two Canadian publishers fought in a dispute resolution process concerning a .CA domain…

201808.10

The GDPR Facilitates Large-Scale Phishing

Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information, often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This practice uses domains identical or very similar to well-known brands: banks, insurance companies or airline companies are very often victims of these attacks. A number of elements help to create large-scale…

201808.09

Thieves in the Temple? Prince Estate Files Cybersquatting Case vs. Prince.com

The latest in a string of suits filed by the estate of the recording artist Prince (Prince Estate), a New Jersey-based domain name trader, Domain Capital, is being accused of cybersquatting by the Prince Estate for registering the domain name <prince.com> (Paisley Park Enterprises, Inc. and Comerica Bank & Trust, NA as Personal Representative of…

201808.03

Frivolous UDRP Complaints: Time to Claim Damages

Innovation HQ, Inc. has owned the domain weeds.com for several years. At the end of 2017, the domain name led to a single page with links made up of generic terms related to horticulture and gardening. This page also announced that the domain name was for sale. Weeds, Inc. owns trademarks that include the word…

201808.02

Domain Name Hijacking: Two Chinese Individuals Before an American Court

A Chinese citizen, Mr. C., is suing another, Mr. L., before the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in the United States, on the ground of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). This in rem proceeding concerns the following domain names: 789365.com, 402013.com, 402014.com, 402015.com and vip999365.com (Xiaomei Chen v. Lin Bing Jun,…

201806.25

The Financial Evaluation of a Domain Name in a UDRP Proceeding

A Taiwanese company registered the disputed domain name senec.com in 2002. A German company, the owner of European trademarks “SENEC”, initiated a UDRP procedure. On the day of receipt of the UDRP complaint by the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization (AMC-WIPO), the domain name gave access to a parking page…

201806.15

Viking.com or the saga of a raid lost in advance

A UDRP decision rendered by WIPO arbitration center the 23rd of February 2018 saw the complaint of Aurelius RHO GTM Development Limited regarding viking.com, whose registrant was Office Depot Inc, being rejected and qualified as “Reverse Domain Name Hijacking” (RDNH). What is RDNH ? A company filing a UDRP complaint with deficient legal grounds with regards…

201806.06

UDRP: the Boomerang Effect of the Response

The Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) procedure to obtain the transfer of a domain name is a straightforward proceeding, within which the evidentiary requirement is rather low. To obtain a favorable decision, the Complainant must satisfy three conditions: the domain name must be identical or similar to a trademark to which the Complainant has rights;…

201805.15

France.com: Caution and Patience

The media has reported what is now known as France.com. Just as many are those who echoed the arguments of one of the protagonists. However, the case has not yet been decided as it is much more complex than it seems. The decision must be concluded with caution. The story of the France.com domain name…

201805.15

Cybersquatting: an Extortion Attempt for 95,000 GBP!

The Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group’s Forex branch had just filed its trademark application with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office for its CYBFX brand only later find out that the domain name <cybfx.co.uk> had already been registered by a cybersquatter. Upon further investigation, the bank discovered that the domain name was registered by an Eric…

201805.15

DreamWorks Animation Wins a Cybersquatting Case Against a Trademark Troll

In the field of intellectual property, a troll is an individual or a company that produces nothing but shows enough audacity to initiate proceedings to have an infringement of its alleged rights recognized. In 2014, the Troll producer won a UDRP case concerning two domain names: orientaldreamworks.com and shanghaidreamworks.com (D2014-0171, Dreamworks Animation LLC v. Hongyun…

201804.22

GDPR, Whois and the United States DoC

In a month, on 25 May 2018, the much talked about General Data Protection Regulation GDPR will come into force. Much has already been said and written about the consequences of compliance with the new regulation on Whois data. The closer we get to said implementation date of 25 May 2018, the more ICANN and its IPC – Intellectual Property Constituency of the Generic Names…

201804.13

.GE (Georgia) regulations eventually made easy

As from 15 April 2018 new regulations for registration, transfer and handling of disputes of .GE domain names will apply. Change regarding local presence: Until now in order to register a .GE domain it was required to have a local physical presence in Georgia. Since this requirement will now be removed, any registrant outside Georgia…