A ruling by Amsterdam’s district court has returned 300 domain names to their owners, in the biggest lawsuit of its type to date. Ordering the mass transfer of domain names, the court effectively evicted the cybersquatters.
Analysts predict that more high-profile disputes are now likely to end up in court.
The lawsuit was brought by a number of big name companies, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Levi’s, Nokia and General Motors. Domain name registrar Name Space has been ordered to return 300 domain names it had registered.
Lawyer Joris van Manen, who represented the plaintiffs, said there was a clear message to domain name hijackers worldwide that they could no longer register someone else’s name and make money out of it.
Recently, a Chinese court ordered a company that had registered a huge number of trade names, to hand over individual domain names to their owners, including Ikea.
In the US more than 1,800 web sites which use domain names incorporating official Olympic trademarks are being sued under federal anti-cyber squatting laws. Success is less certain as many of the sites do not have anything to do with Olympic sports, although their names contain the words olympic, olympics, olympiad or simulations of the trademark through misspellings or foreign equivalents.
The action is being taken by the committees organizing the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, which aim to close the sites or have the domain names transferred.