The economics of cybersquatting have been perfectly demonstrated by the recent purchase of the domain name Gmail.pl by a hydraulic-sanitary wholesaler.
The price paid for Gmail.pl at open auction was €30,000, compared to the standard cost for five years' registration of a dot.com domain of around €100. The value of gmail.pl is inextricably linked to the success of Google's email service at Gmail.com and shows the potential profitability of trading in domain names. However, this domain was used in fact by Grupa Mlodych Artystow i Literatow (English translation: the Group of Young Artists and Literats), which used an abbreviation GMAiL.
Poland's landmark domain dispute concerned successful proceedings by Microsoft to take over the registration of microsoft.pl from a herbs trader. More recently, domain names have been registered containing the name of the F1 racing driver Robert Kubica and the Euro 2012 football championships, suggesting that further high-profile disputes are likely.
However, domain disputes are very complicated and depend on the circumstances, including whether the cybersquatter is infringing the principle of fair competition, trade mark rights or copyright. Using the domain name of someone else's trade mark will not automatically give its proprietor the right to take over the domain. For example, it is important who operates the domain and what services they provide from it.
Where both parties are registered or resident outside of Poland, cybersquatting disputes should be resolved by a forum such as the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center. Disputes involving a Polish party can be resolved by:
- Polish common courts of law
- the Court of Arbitration for Internet Domains at the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications
- the Court of Arbitration at the Polish Chamber of Commerce
This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq
Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.
The original publication date for this article was 20/09/2010.