Web is big enough for more than one Leonardo

France

For the second time only, the French courts have had to determine whether the URL used by one party and the trademark held by another party are so confusing that the URL user should be found guilty of cybersquatting.

In this case, a company that promotes technology projects had registered the trademark LEONARDO. When the company discovered that a cultural association was using this name on its web site and in its URL, the company instituted legal proceedings. The cultural association had been publishing a magazine called Leonardo since 1968.

On May 28 the court determined that the cultural association was not cybersquatting because there was no confusion between the services offered by the two litigants.

The outcome of this case is the opposite of the first case of this kind in France. The first case involved a politician whose name was used as the address of a pornographic site hosted by Geocities.com. The politician won and Geocities was forced to cease using the name.

A copy of the Leonardo decision can be found (in French) at http://legal.edhec.com/DTIC/Decisions/Dec_DNS_0.htm and http://www.juriscom.net/txt/jurisfr/ndm/tginanterre20010528.htm.

Cédric Manara, Cabinet Caprioli Avocats, Nice

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