Monday, June 3, 2013

Berlin Wins Dispute Over Berlin.com


By Zak Muscovitch.

As reported by Peter Muller, a German appeals court ruled on May 29, 2013, that US-based World Media Group LLC, owner of major websites and domain names, Doctor.com, India.com, Lawyer.com, Paris.com, and London.com, cannot use BERLIN.COM for a website about the city of Berlin. You can read the Press Release from the Office of the State of Berlin on....BERLIN.DE. According to the Press Release (translated from German):


State of Berlin wins court battle to use the Internet address "berlin.com"

Press Release 
Berlin, 29.05.2013
The Press and Information Office of the State of Berlin announces: In the dispute over the use of the name "Berlin" as an Internet domain, the Berlin Court of Appeal has followed in the appeal hearing of the legal opinion of the State of Berlin. The defendant by the State of Berlin for injunctive U.S. company was enjoined, the Internet domain berlin.com for the provision of information on the use of capital, Berlin. had the company in February 2011, a new version of the domain berlin.com - reinforced with information the capital city of Berlin in the German language - unlocked. According to the injunction of Berlin, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that according to § 12 BGB protected right to a name of Berlin is infringed by the use of the domain "berlin.com" and aware of the likelihood of confusion (so-called "assignment confusion") to the city's official information system in Berlin . de is donated. Speaker of the Senate, Dr. Richard Meng: "We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court, which also follows high court judgments of the Federal Court in similar cases in other respects. This is Europe's most-used town portal Berlin.de further than 1 Address for the information about the state of Berlin secured without risk of confusion. " the judgment of the Court of Appeal set aside the first instance judgment of the Berlin Regional Court, which had the action of Berlin initially turned away. At the same time, the Court of Appeal for a revision of the defendant against the judgment not allowed. Because the other side does not make use of the formal legal complaint against the possible refusal of the appeal, the judgment is final since mid May 2013 --- .

From the above, it appears that the use of the domain name for Berlin related information was ordered to be stopped by the Court, but it is not clear whether the Court also ordered the transfer of the domain name itself. This may be a case involving "infringement" only, and not seeking the domain name itself. If so, I wonder what Berlin.com will be used for in the future? Or perhaps, I wonder if this is not the final chapter, since I doubt that the owners of Berlin.com would see any merit in this decision, or even acknowledge the jurisdiction of the court.

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