First domain name decision issued under new ADR system

On November 12 2010 the Domain Disputes Committee of the Estonian Internet Foundation issued its first decision.
On July 6 2010, when the new ‘.ee’ domain names rules entered into force, Kiima Villu, an individual, registered the domain ''. On October 11 2010 Bang & Olufsen A/S filed an application with the committee requesting the transfer of the domain to itself.
The committee found that the domain name '' was confusingly similar to Bang & Olufsen's trademarks, and that the difference between '-' and '& was insignificant. Further, the committee found that Villu did not have legitimate interests in respect of the domain name, as the latter consisted of the surnames of Bang & Olufsen's founders, Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen. The committee held that there was no need to consider whether the domain name had been registered in bad faith, as it had already found in favour of Bang & Olufsen with regard to the other claims. Consequently, the committee ordered the transfer of the domain name to Bang & Olufsen.
Under the new ‘.ee’ domain names rules, the local presence requirement for domain name owners has been abolished and, therefore, domain names may be owned by foreign companies. However, the local presence requirement remains for the registrant's administrative contact. The deadline to re-register domain names under the new rules is January 5 2011, and recent statistics show that only 20% of domain names had been re-registered. The domain names that have not been re-registered will be freed - therefore, after January 5 2011 an opportunity will arise for trademark owners to regain cybersquatted domain names.
Mikas Miniotas, AAA Legal Services, Tallinn

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