9
Oct/02

NEW ZEALAND Brand Country, For All Your Country Needs


Someone other than the country of New Zealand registered newzealand.biz.  The country of New Zealand, or more accurately, its monarch, Queen Elizabeth, brought a STOP proceeding.  Anyway, the panel goes through some tortured discussion as to whether it can be said that New Zelanad owns common law rights in NEW ZEALAND as a trademark, and they conclude that it cannot be so said.  However, the Panel then indicates that it did read the recent WIPO2 Report on domain names, which, while it doesn’t reach a conclusion about how to protect country names, does indicate that there is some merit in the idea.  Then the panel reads the STOP policy which says that while the complainant needs to establish trademark rights in most of the time relevant provisions, Clause 4.lii1(a) says that the complainant merely has to establish “legitimate rights,” not trademark rights, in the case of multiple IP claimants (the case here).  We will probably not see anymore STOP proceedings so there is likely no opportunity for a paenl to point out that that clause should probably be read in the light of all the other clauses which explicitly requrie trademark rights.  The Panel then held that New Zealand does hold legitimate rights in the name NEW ZEALAND, primarily because it is New Zealand, and holds for the Queen.  Rule Britannia.

Here, by the way, for those of you who are countries or direct traffic away from countries, is the link to the 2d Circuit decision in Virtual Countries v. Republic of South Africa, which involves southafrica.com.

 

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