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New developments in the never-ending struggle over domain names

Italian Judges seem to be wandering through a never-ending night when it comes to IP protection over the ‘Net.

At the beginning of October the owner of the brand “Moncler” succeeded in having the DA Office in Padua enforce the “seizure” of 500 domain names which contained the word “moncler” (including domain names such as monclerfans.com,  ilovemoncler.com or monclersuper.com) on the ground of alleged trademark infringement and sale of counterfeited goods.

However, the very same DA Office had to concur that the seizure at hand had gone way too far, since no serious fact-checking supported the enforced measure (some of the domain names did not even correspond to an actual website other than a simple “placeholder”) and during the appellate hearing held on the last 4th of November the office itself requested the seizure to be lifted.

Moreover, the Appellate Panel of the Tribunal of Padua affirmed for the first time that  associations of ISPs (Assoprovider, AIIP) which were the ultimate addressee of the seizure – being it, in fact, a sort of restraint order asking the ISPs to block access to those domains – have a cause of action against said order although they are not technically speaking parties to the process at hand.

Is this the end of en-masse seizure of domain names without any real underlying crime? It does not appear so, since word has it that there is another seizure request from the Guardia di Finanza of Agropoli down the pipeline. We will wait and see how this case is going to be  handled.

Gianluca Gilardi

 


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