De Beers has won a domain name dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). According to Bird & Bird, the law firm that represented De Beers, this is the first decision on a .feedback generic top-level domain (gTLD) registration, worldipreview.com reported.
WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center has transferred the domain name debeers.feedback to De Beers. A complaint was filed on July 20 against a respondent called domain admin, Whois Privacy of Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas. The disputed domain name was registered in January this year, close to the end of the “early access period” for the .feedback domain.
The website to which the disputed domain name resolves has what purport to be 11 reviews of De Beers’ services. “It also has a section with links to the ‘debeers.com’ website, the DeBeers Facebook and Instagram pages and the Wikipedia entry for De Beers,” said Warwick Rothnie of WIPO. The site also includes the phone number and physical address for an outlet in New York. “This section is headed by a graphic of a mountain range which has superimposed on it a circle with what the complainant says is its logo inside,” Rothnie added. There is also a disclaimer at the bottom of the page which adds that the site is “provided to facilitate free speech regarding De Beers” and that no “direct endorsement or association should be conferred”.
Melinda Willis, on behalf of De Beers, commented: “As any misuse of our IP could seriously undermine our brand equity, De Beers takes the protection of its IP very seriously. This includes adapting our brand protection and enforcement strategies to the ever-changing online world including, in this case, the new gTLD regime.”