Domain Name Disputes

Disputes about domains containing personal names are among the most difficult for a commission investigating complaints about cybersquatting.

The rules state that each user has the right to a domain containing his name. They also say that proper names are equal to dictionary words, and domains containing them can be selected upon the complaint of another person only if he is the owner of a trademark matching this name. But what is more important - the user's right to register a domain with a name (possibly his own) or the right of the owner of the brand?

Earlier, we talked about the scandalous story with the domain. Two more controversy over name domains has recently been addressed.

In the first of these, the famous cruise company Aida Cruises was not able to defend its rights to the domain, which its owner acquired for his two-year-old daughter. At first, the commission doubted in whose favor it was decided. To prove the purity of his intentions, the domain owner submitted a copy of Aida’s birth certificate and evidence that he had already registered domains for his relatives. This convinced WIPO that the domain was not registered for cybersquatting.

But what succeeded the two-year-old girl failed President of the largest media corporation Viacom Philip Dauman. WIPO Commission refused he is entitled to the domain. The reason for the refusal was that his name was not registered as a trademark. Consequently, there is no reason to transfer it to another person. Proper names are considered on a par with vocabulary words, and the fact that there is no other equally famous Philippe Pierre Dauman and the domain owner is not his namesake or namesake can be ignored. Also, Commissioner Richard Lyon, who examined the complaint, referred to precedents, i.e. other similar disputes in which the same decision was made.

Meanwhile, the domain owner does not even hide that he is going to use it to place video materials, i.e. will use the name of a famous person for his own benefit. Thus, WIPO simply gave the domain to cybersquatter. Viacom considered this a misunderstanding and intends to file a complaint again, and if necessary, to achieve justice in a judicial proceeding.