Court takes softly-softly approach in cybersquatting first

Czech Republic

A recently granted injunction is the first decision of a Czech court concerning a domain name dispute. The regional court in Pilzen issued a preliminary injunction against the defendant who had registered the domain name 'quilt.cz', prohibiting use of the name until the court renders its final decision.

The plaintiff, Quilt SRO, is a company that trades in textile products and is the registered holder of the trademark QUILT. The defendant is a private entrepreneur who also trades in textile products. Both parties are from the same geographical region of the country.

When the plaintiff requested the defendant to abandon the domain name, the defendant refused to do so, but offered to sell it to the plaintiff. The plaintiff then filed for an interlocutory injunction.

In granting the injunction, the court concluded that the registration of a domain name does not grant the registrant legal rights equivalent to trademark or trade name rights. Rather, registrants should comply with and be respectful of existing rights. The court also concluded that registration of the word 'quilt' as a domain name may (i) be confusing and misleading for online consumers, and (ii) constitute unfair competition.

The court did not consider whether the defendant's registration of the domain name is a breach of the plaintiff's rights to its trademark and trade name. It did, however, state that the plaintiff has the right to protect its trademark, and that trademarks take precedence over domain names.

Zbynek Loebl, Central Europe Advisory Group, Prague

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