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News > April 2007

27-Apr-2007

Trademarks And Domain Names

Lawsuits are very expensive so use caution when registering a domain name which includes a major trademark. An example is a small German car repair shop who ended up in a legal dispute against Peugeot. The shop had registered the domain name Peugeot-tuning.de leading to the French motor company quickly suing.

The District Court in Duesseldorf, Germany in November, 2005 decided in favour of the small shop. Peugeot then decided to take the lawsuit to the Supreme Court in Düsseldorf who overturned the decision in favour Peugeot and ordered the peugeot-tuning.de to be returned.

The reasoning was based on the fact that peugeot-tuning.de can easily be as an official web address run by Peugeot, (offering tuning services directly to the end-user). The Supreme Court implied that they would have decided differently if the shop had registered a domain not starting with the trademark name (e.g. tuning-of-Peugeot-cars.com).

It is important to consider the ruling when registering a domain name including a trademark. If an end-user could believe they are dealing directly with the trademark holder then it would be wise to consider registering a different domain.