Lastminute.com has won a crucial legal battle allowing it to continue using its brand name.
The action was brought by German travel company L'tur against Lastminute's German subsidiary, and has been a dark cloud over Lastminute.com for months.
In Germany "last minute" is a generic term referring to cheap travel within two weeks; L'tur even uses the term in its logo. The German company argued Lastminute.com's use of the term was anti-competitive, since users might think that site was the only place to go for such deals.
A regional court in Hamburg threw out the case Friday, stating that there was no law against using a generic term as a domain name. Lastminute said the ruling mainly benefits consumers, since a decision the other way would have restricted Internet competition.
"The court's decision brings clarity to the whole German Internet economy," said Stephan Uhrenbacher, head of northern Europe for Lastminute.com, in a prepared statement.
Generic names have become a staple in the online world, since users' first instinct is often to type the name of what they want into the Web browser. For example, US book e-tailer Barnesandnoble.com purchased the domain name books.com to boost the number of people who visit the site.
Lastminute.com offers travel deals, entertainment and gifts via a system that matches unused inventory with buyers willing to book less than two weeks in advance.
See techTrader for more technology investment news, plus quotes and research.
What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.