'expedia.gr' registration checks out


The National Telecommunications and Post Committee, the authority responsible for supervising the administration of domain names in Greece, has ordered the cancellation of the domain name 'expedia.gr', which was initially registered in the name of Greek company Greece HTTP MEPE (Case 37916/20-10-2006, March 22 2007).

Expedia Inc brought a cancellation action against the Greek registrant on the grounds that the domain name registration exploited its rights in its EXPEDIA marks, company name and associated domain names. The committee, in its decision, acknowledged the fact that Expedia is a well-known travel agent that has acquired its fame while operating primarily online in various countries in the world, such as, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Given the nature of online services, which can be provided in numerous jurisdictions without the need for a physical presence in those jurisdictions, the committee was unconcerned by the fact that Expedia has no offices in Greece and has never previously operated a Greek website. Instead, the committee emphasized the significant level of global investment by Expedia in its Expedia brand, which had made that brand famous internationally.

Based on this international fame, the committee recognized that the Expedia brand is well known in Greece, even purely on the basis of the online use of the brand. The committee reasoned that the Greek registrant was obviously aware of the famous Expedia brand and had registered the 'expedia.gr' domain name with the intention of exploiting Expedia's goodwill and confusing the public. Thus, it had registered the domain name in bad faith.

Eleni Lappa, Dr Helen G Papaconstantinou John V Filias & Associates, Athens

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