Insta Gram online coffeeshop

Domain name disputes can often be resolved through a simple administrative (UDRP) procedure. These cases often involve a domain in which the trademark of another party is part. Some companies trust that having their brandname as a domain provides sufficient protection. They often neglect to apply for trademark protection timely. This can have serious consequences.

 

The social media app Instagram was launched on October 6, 2010. Almost three months later (on December 22, 2010) the domain name <instagram.nl> was registered by the defendant. More than 10 years later, Instagram wants the domain name and starts a UDRP procedure. According to Instagram, the defendant seeks to take advantage of the successful app with this domain name. Defendant disagrees and claims that it has its own right to the name.

At the time of their domain registration, Instagram was virtually unknown in the USA and certainly in the Netherlands. Defendant was not even aware of the existence of this company. Defendant at the time intended to launch an online shop for the sale and home delivery of cannabis products. The services were to be offered under the name 'Insta Gram'. At that time investment in the start-up had already amounted to € 30,000 and discussions with investors were ongoing. However, due to legal red tape, things ran behind schedule. Defendant therefore has an interest of their own in this name.

In view of this defense, the failing documents Instagram's claim was rejected. This is not a simple matter of the sort UDRP is meant for, but for litigation. Note that Instagram only registered its trademark in the EU in 2011. If the trademark had been registered before the launch, this would probably have yielded a different decision. Therefore, don’t rely on use, but apply for trademark protection in good time (well in advance).

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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?