202003.17

Online counterfeiting and consumer safety: commentary on the March 4, 2020 hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives

On March 4, 2020, several members of the Consumer Protection and Trade subcommittee (energycommere.house.gov/subcommittees) — a branch of the Energy and Trade Commission of the House of Representatives of the United States (energycommerce.house.gov) —, held a hearing devoted to the safety of products made available to the public on online market platforms. The debates were mainly chaired by…

202003.12

Cybersquatting: Facebook sues Namecheap and Whoisguard

Facebook is suing the Namecheap domain name registrar and the Whoisguard proxy service in an Arizona court. Facebook accuses the two companies of having registered no less than 45 domain names that infringe the Facebook group brands. Facebook provides some examples of the presumed abusive domain names: instagrambusinesshelp.com, facebo0k-login.com and whatsappdownload.site. . Facebook states that…

202003.10

French Court of Audit on counterfeiting: towards an enhanced obligation of vigilance for e-commerce platforms

On October 31, 2018, the President of the French Parliament had entrusted the French Court of Audit (Cour des comptes) with carrying out an investigation relating to “the fight against counterfeiting”  (Lettre du Président de l’Assemblée Nationale au Premier président de la Cour des comptes, du 31 octobre 2018, Cour des comptes, La lutte contre les contrefaçons….

202003.04

UDRP on ihatedell.com: a transfer decision unrelated to freedom of expression

Following a procedure administered by the National Arbitration Forum, the domain name ihatedell.com was transferred to the complainant, Dell Inc. Contrary to what one might imagine, the decision is unrelated to freedom of expression. First, the ihatedell.com site had nothing to do with any criticism of Dell, Inc., or its products since it was related…

202003.03

United States: Shop Safe Act, a bill to end online counterfeiting

Congress must create accountability to prevent these hazardous items from infiltrating the homes of millions of Americans. The SHOP SAFE Act would make families safer by requiring online sellers to help prevent the sale of counterfeit products to consumers. The 2020s will be marked by a strengthening of the fight against the abuse of intellectual…

202002.25

Brexit and GDPR

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020. What about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? Nominet published a clarifying note (theukdomain.uk, 2020-02-20). The .UK Registry immediately points out, wisely, that the United Kingdom and the European Union have entered a transitional period which poses the status quo while new negotiations…

202002.25

dumbledore.com: weak trademarks don’t work miracles

Among the types of trademarks that suffer from their coexistence with domain names, weak trademarks stand out, and especially acronym trademarks (see, for example, “Trademarks and domain names: it’s hard to be an acronym trademark!“) and generic trademarks (for a typical example, see Thesun.com: “the sun shines for everyone”). Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. failed to recover…

202002.20

Political cybersquatting: cases under French law

Cybersquatting is the act, in bad faith, of registering a domain name without being able to justify a right or a legitimate interest on this domain name. It regularly strikes political figures, as recently attested by a case involving the current Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Scott Morrison (“Scottmorrison.com.au and Scotty Doesn’t Know or the woes…

202002.18

General availability of .ar domains postponed

The Argentinian registry recently announced it will postpone — again — the launch of the general availability period for all .ar domain names. The GA was last expected to happen on 23 February but was postponed to 10 March at midnight local time. Numerous domain names will not be available for registration, such as 1-3 letters domains…

202002.12

Taiwan: .台灣 (.xn--kpry57d) allows the registration of ASCII domain names

.台灣 is a Top Level Domain (TLD or extension) using traditional Chinese characters that are translated in « Taiwan ».  Previously, only IDN domains, using Chinese characters on the second level (eg. 例子.台灣), could be registered under this extension. From the 18th of February 2020, domain names in ASCII characters (a-z, 0-9 and -) will be available…

202002.10

Blocking websites selling fake watches in France : the harassing fight against counterfeiting

Groupe Richemont, hand in hand with some of the brands that compose it (Cartier, Mont-Blanc, Officine Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, and IWC Schaffhausen), had identified websites selling watches on which their brands were affixed without their consent, namely contrefaconmontre.com, repliquefrance.com, and repliquemontre.cn. Groupe Richemont sued Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free for interim measures before…

202002.03

Generic domain names: a challenge for competition law

Domain names are originally a technical shortcut, hiding the IP address of a website server to make it easily and quickly accessible. Easily memorable names have replaced inconvenient series of numbers. Nowadays however, domain names have become genuine identifiers, and distinctive signs in the same way as trademarks. Yet, bringing closer the legal principles applicable…

202002.03

The post-Brexit effects on domain names

The United Kingdom left the European Union at midnight January 31, 2020 (CET). The United Kingdom and the European Union have entered a period of transition. This period will last at least until December 31, 2020. During this period, residents and citizens of the United Kingdom can hold and register a .eu domain name (EURid.eu,…

202001.30

Africa: foreign direct investment, trademarks and domain names

The management of international trademark and domain name portfolios is closely linked to investments made by companies, including those made abroad. Investments imply, in many cases, a commercial presence on the host territory, which must imperatively be accompanied by trademark and domain name registrations at the national level and, where appropriate, at the regional level….

202001.29

United States: around twenty priority measures to combat counterfeiting

On April 3, 2019, the White House had published a memorandum on the fight against counterfeiting (iptwins.com, 2019-04-05), in which it asked the heads of the federal agencies concerned to submit a report with the following objectives : (i) Analysis of all the available data that could improve knowledge of the mechanisms that allow or…

202001.20

weleakinfo.com domain name seized by the American authorities

The FBI and the United States Department of Justice announced that they had seized the domain name weleakinfo.com, which was supplying, for a small fee, a search engine intended to acquire personal data obtained illegally. Two people were reportedly arrested in the Netherlands and Northern Ireland (Justice.gov, 2020-01-16).

202001.12

.GAY: Sunrise period from February 10 to March 31

Top Level Design announced the opening of the .GAY TLD. The sunrise period will run from February 10 to March 31, 2020, while the opening to the public is set for May 11, 2020. By offering .GAY, Top Level Design aims to guarantee a safe space for the LGBT community. The registry assures in particular…

201912.20

UDRP: stevejobs.com, transferred 20 years after registration

The year 2019 was marked by the transfer of several domain names identical to the names of celebrities, in particular kingofpop.com (iptwins.com, 2019-07-11), pabloescobar.com (iptwins.com, 2019-10-16) and mandela.org (iptwins.com, 2019-07-27). Stevejobs.com (NAF FA1909001861755, Steve Jobs Archive, LLC v. Jongsubkim, December 11, 2019, transfer) should be added to this list. This domain name was registered in…