A United Nations court has awarded Internet giant Yahoo the rights to 40 disputed web addresses.
Arbitrators from the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation awarded the names as part of a campaign to curb cybersquatting. The arbitrators found that “internet users are actually confused” by names registered by individuals that ape or incorporate trademarks belonging to others.
They said that URLs such as the yahoo.com.uy featured in the hearing, can receive hundreds of e-mails intended for others.
The panel ruled that the pre-emption and interception of a famous and well-known foreign mark by simply registering it first as a domain name in the local jurisdiction should not be sanctioned.
Uruguayan web entrepreneur Jorge Kirovsky - who had registered four addresses and linked them to his Spanish-language site dedicated to pets - had claimed the Yahoo trademark was largely unknown in his home country, adding that it “is the name of a dog in Uruguay.”
In a second case, Yahoo! and its GeoCities subsidiary won 36 addresses from six respondents with company addresses in the United States and in the central American nation of Belize.
None of the companies involved contested Yahoo!’s complaint that the domain names - most involving misspellings, among them gecities.com and ayhoo.com - were confusingly similar to its trademarks.