Former general manager gets jail term for cybersquatting

Indonesia

The Supreme Court has sentenced Tjandra Sugiono to four months in prison for having registered and used the domain name 'mustika-ratu.com' in bad faith.

Sugiono was the general manager of PT Martina Berto, a local cosmetics company. Sugiono registered 'mustika-ratu.com' with Network Solutions in the United States in 1999, using the trademark of Martina Berto's main competitor, PT Mustika Ratu.

Mustika Ratu instituted proceedings in the Central Jakarta District Court, arguing that Sugiono had violated the unfair competition provisions in Article 382bis of Indonesia's Penal Code and Article 48(1) of the Act on Restrictions on Monopolistic Practices. Mustika Ratu provided evidence that (i) the disputed domain name was being used for a website to advertise and sell the products of Martina Berto, and (ii) Mustika Ratu had suffered economic loss as a result of this action.

In December 2001, the district court acquitted Sugiono of the criminal charges on the grounds that he:

  • had registered the domain name with an official body and did not deceive Network Solutions as to his identity;

  • had not profited from registering and using the domain name;

  • was no longer an employee of Martina Berto; and

  • had registered the domain name before the Act on Restrictions on Monopolistic Practices came into force.

On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court's ruling, finding that Sugiono had willfully violated Article 382bis, and sentenced him to four months in prison. Sugiono is now serving that sentence.

James B Lumenta and Kristian Sirait, Amroos & Partners, Jakarta

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