FIFA scores with 'fifa.gr' cancellation action
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 'fifa.gr', which was initially registered by an individual named Christos Soulimiotis (Case 36019/05-10-2006, April 2 2007).
Soulimiotis was actively using the domain name for an online sports newspaper, the main focus of which was football, both local and international.
When the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the owner of numerous FIFA marks, discovered the registration of 'fifa.gr' it immediately filed for cancellation. In its complaint FIFA alleged that the use of the domain name by Soulimiotis was so closely linked to the activities carried out by FIFA that it clearly presented a risk of confusion to consumers, a lot of whom tend to follow football and other sports news online.
The committee determined that Soulimiotis had registered the domain name 'fifa.gr' in bad faith. Bad faith was shown by the fact that the Greek registrant had (i) no relation to or affiliation with FIFA, and (ii) no relevant prior rights (whether registered or unregistered) in the name. The corresponding website at 'fifa.gr' covered the same field of activities as those of FIFA and resembled so closely FIFA's official sites that it was deemed to be clearly taking an unfair advantage of the mark FIFA for commercial purposes.
In conclusion, the committee held that the Greek individual was obviously aware of FIFA and this knowledge, in conjunction with his competitive conduct towards FIFA, was a clear effort to divert online visitors away from FIFA.
Eleni Lappa, Dr Helen Papaconstantinou, John Filias & Associates, Athens
Copyright © Law Business ResearchCompany Number: 03281866 VAT: GB 160 7529 10