Landmark decision in .info dispute

A ruling by the World Intellectual Property Organisation over a .info domain name has struck a blow against big business, say observers

The World Intellectual Property Organisation has upheld Spanish entrepreneur Christian Castresana's right to use, rejecting a challenge from media giant INT Media Group.

Despite having registered as a trademark, INT was unsuccessful in taking advantage of a sunrise period set aside for trademark owners to claim names in the .info domain space prior to public auction. That forced the media giant to challenge Castresana's right to use the name before WIPO's commercial arbitration body.

In making its challenge, INT Media Group claimed that its attempts to register the domain during the sunrise period were botched by domain registrars Network Solutions and Domain Bank. It also accused Castresana of acting in bad faith and having no legitimate right to use the word combination InternetNews.

However, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has rejected the challenge on all three grounds and said that its decision will influence outcomes of similar domain disputes.

Sydney law firm Deacons said the decision will help clear up some of the mystery surrounding the law and its relationship to domain disputes.

"It's a fairly unambiguous statement that the law as we knew it prior to the Internet is now fairly well synchronised and harmonised with the law post the Internet and domain name issues," Deacons lawyer, Leif Gamertsfelder told ZDNet Australia.

According to Gamertsfelder, one of the most important points of WIPO's decision is the recognition that the use of combinations of common words in domain names doesn't automatically constitute a recognisable brand.

WIPO found that the combination of the words Internet and News "cannot be considered unusual or require imaginative capacity or a special sophistication".

"It's basically bringing a bit of common sense back into the domain dispute resolution," said Gamertsfelder.

WIPO characterised the decision as a victory for .info in "the battle" with .com.

For everything Internet-related, from the latest legal and policy-related news, to domain name updates, see ZDNet UK's Internet News Section.

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