Greek court sets cybersquatting precedent


A recent decision of the Single-Member Court of Athens (3950/2001) is the first to hold that the legitimate owner of a trademark may not be entitled to register a domain name containing that mark. Although the case may be appealed to the Court of Appeal, it is not likely to be heard for at least three years.

The plaintiffs, a major clothing manufacturer and its Greek subsidiary, were not allowed to register a Greek top-level domain using their trademark because the domain name had already been registered by a Greek coffee merchant who used a variant of his surname to come up with the domain name.

The court had to decide whether the coffee merchant's use of the domain name could cause confusion to the consumer, which is strictly forbidden under the Unfair Competition Act. The court determined that there was no danger of confusion since there was not a competitive relationship between the disputing parties; their products were entirely different. The court therefore rejected the plaintiffs' petition.

Yiannis Economakis, Sarantitis & Partners, Piraeus

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