Port of Helsinki loses domain name decision

WIPO goes against earlier rulings on geographic domain names, saying trademarks do not necessarily apply

The port authority of the City of Helsinki has failed in its bid to win the domain name portofhelsinki.com from a shipping business, based on the argument that the domain refers to a geographic location rather than a specific entity.

The decision, reached this week by the World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Centre, goes against the grain of some of WIPO's earlier precedents, such as awarding Barcelona.com to the City of Barcelona.

Paragon International Projects Limited registered the domain name and those of other ports with the intention of launching a shipping industry search engine. Henry Olsson, the WIPO panellist responsible for the arbitration, said geographic locations "can be provided through other means, such as the special protection for geographical indications and not per se under trademark law."

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