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De Beers Wins Trademark Case Against Website

Sep 27, 2016 1:34 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... De Beers succeeded in a “complaint against an individual” who registered the domain name debeers.feedback and purported to provide consumer reviews about the diamond producer.

The decision is the first that relates to a generic top-level domain (gTLD) with the form .feedback and shows brands owners can challenge such registrations, said lawyers acting for De Beers.



The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) administrative panel ordered the domain name be transferred to De Beers after the portal met three requirements for a successful complaint: the domain name was identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which De Beers has rights; the respondent had no rights to the disputed domain name; and the domain name had been registered and was being used in bad faith, according to law firm Bird & Bird.

The decisive consideration underpinning the decision related “to the history of the posting of the reviews.” At least five reviews posted on the site and dated before March 24 did not appear on the page until after March 24, sole panelist Warwick Rothnie wrote in the decision. While one comment saying just “Nah mate” had been published by that date, the other purportedly real reviews only appeared after De Beers lawyers sent a letter of demand on March 24, Rothnie added.

“If the website were genuinely operating as a feedback forum, one would ordinarily expect the reviews to have appeared at or close to their respective dates,” Rothnie wrote.

“As any misuse of our IP could seriously undermine our brand equity, De Beers takes the protection of its IP very seriously,” said Melinda Willis, a legal advisor at De Beers parent company Anglo American. “This includes adapting our brand protection and enforcement strategies to the ever-changing online world including, in this case, the new gTLD regime.”
Tags: De Beers, debeers.feedback, generic top-level domain, gTLD, intellectual property, IP, Rapaport News, trade mark
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