AOL recovers domain name in Brazil
America Online Inc, the US-based internet service provider (ISP), brought a claim against America On Line Telecomunicações Ltda., a local provider, that had registered the domain name 'aol.com.br' in 1997. The court hearing the case granted an anticipatory judgment to AOL, freezing use of the domain name. The Brazilian ISP then obtained an injunction to suspend the effect of the anticipatory judgment. The parties recently settled their dispute and the domain name 'aol.com.br' was handed over to the US ISP in June.
In Brazil, top-level domains (TLDs) are registered with the non-profit organization FAPESP (São Paulo State Foundation for Academic Research). The country code TLDs '.br' 'com.br', 'org.br', 'g12.br', 'net.br', 'mil.br', 'gov.br' and 'ind.br' are granted only to corporate entities registered with the Brazilian Ministry of Finance's Corporate Taxpayer Registry. Foreign entities are allowed to register country code TLDs, provided a local representative is appointed within one year of the domain name's registration.
Domain names are granted on a first come, first served basis. The FAPESP normally refuses applications for domain names that are already registered, or that contain certain reserved expressions or well-known trademarks.
There is no specific legislation on resolving domain name disputes in Brazil. Thus, the policies and procedures to be applied in cyberquatting cases remains unclear. One thing is certain, however, trademark owners may succeed in obtaining a preliminary injunction by arguing bad faith and unfair competition. If the infringed trademark is registered with the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office, the trademark owners chance of success is very good.
Erica Aoki, Moreira Lima Royster & Ohno, São Paulo
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