Aquatex complaint sunk by district court

Latvia

In Aquatex Baltija v SIA 'Juras vejš' (Case 1640/2), the District Court for Riga has, for the first time, ruled on a conflict between a trademark and a domain name. The court refused to order the cancellation of the defendant's registration for 'aquatex.lv' holding that although the plaintiff owns a Latvian registration for AQUATEX, the defendant registered its domain name before the plaintiff registered its trademark.

Aquatex Baltija, a Latvian company that forms part of the Aquatex Group, registered the mark AQUATEX on October 20 2002 for electrical apparatus, and sports equipment and accessories. SIA 'Juras vejš' registered 'aquatex.lv' on April 21 2002 to host a website offering services relating to diving, diving training and diving equipment.

Aquatex Baltija commenced cancellation proceedings against SIA on the grounds that the 'aquatex.lv' registration infringed its AQUATEX mark. It also contended that Aquatex Group is well known in Latvia and is involved in various aspects of the diving industry, including the manufacture of diving accessories and the provision of diving training.

The court refused to order the cancellation of the disputed domain name holding that although Aquatex Baltija's mark is now well known in Latvia, SIA registered its domain name before Aquatex Baltija registered its trademark. Thus, pursuant to Article 23 of the Law on Trademarks and Indications of Geographical Origin, Aquatex Baltija had failed to prove that SIA's domain name registration had infringed its mark.

Valentina Sergeyeva, Strahlberg & Partners, Riga (with the assistance of Patent and Trademarks Agency 'KDK')

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