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Home IP FLASH Richard Branson wins Trade Mark right over porn web address www.richardbranson.xxx

Richard Branson wins Trade Mark right over porn web address www.richardbranson.xxx

Source: Internet
Richard Branson wins Trade Mark right over porn web address www.richardbranson.xxx
Source: Internet

Dated 22 Feb 2012. The National Arbitration Forum (NAF) of United States has ordered an Australian citizen called Sean Truman to transfer his ownership of the domain name “richardbranson.xxx” to renowned UK born entrepreneur Richard Branson. 

NAF stated that Branson ownsthe trademark rights for the name 'Richard Branson'. Sean Truman had registered the domain name “richardbranson.xxx” and used the name for which he did not hold any legitimate rightsor interests. NAF further stated that Truman had used the name in “bad faith”.

The EU Trade Mark Directive and Community Trade Mark Regulations allow trade mark owners to prevent competitors from "using in the course of trade any sign which is identical with the trade mark in relation to goods or services which are identical with those for which the trade mark is registered" without their consent.

“Any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings" can be registered under the Trade Marks Act.Marks made or used in ‘bad faith’ or that ‘lacks any distinctive character’ cannot be registered. 

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) sells “.xxx” domain names that can be registered as.xxx domains only by companies involved in the business of pornography. Sean Truman had bought the richardbranson.xxx domain name and used the site as a "parking page with links to adult entertainment related websites" against which Branson made a complaint to the NAF. In support of his Complaint Branson provided evidence that showed that Branson had established rights in his name and mark “Richard Branson”. Branson had also registered the domain names containing his name and further argued that "the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to an unregistered trademark or service mark in which he holds the rights. 

On the contrary Truman argued that, although Branson was famous, the name 'Richard Branson' was "neither unique nor unusual" and Branson's success was more reliant on the Virgin brand than his own name. 

NAF ruled that Truman's domain name is identical to Branson's RICHARD BRANSON mark and contains Branson's entire mark and he (Truman), despite Branson’s established rights to his name, could still use the domain name “richardbranson.xxx” had Truman have rights or legitimate interests to the name. Truman was aware of the fame Branson has around the world when he registered the name, whichindicates that Truman had registered and used the name in bad faith, NAF ruled. 

 

 


The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.1, dated April 2012

 

 

 

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