OK tank stations do not get domain name

Fuelplaza exploits gas stations under the name OK. The company registered the logo OK in 1983 in the Benelux. On the internet the company is found at ok-olie.nl. Because ok.nl is a much better name the company approached Goas in 2007, 2013 and 2014 to buy the domain name. This was unsuccessful, and eventually a resolution was sought in court.Fuelplaza invokes its trademark rights. Because there is not an active website, consumers would assume that the company is not active. This may affect the reputation of the company.

The court, however, does not agree. The fact that a company is being disadvantaged because it cannot obtain the corresponding domain name does not affect its reputation. Trademark rights are meant to protect the reputation of a trademark, but they do not grant unlimited rights.

Fuelplaza had another argument, though. It claims to have a better right on the domain name. Gaos is not using it after all. This would be, according to Fuelplaza, illegitimate use of the domain name. The court, however, does not agree with this. Registering a domain name that is similar to a trademark is not illegitimate on and of itself. Gaos’ refusal to sell the domain name for the price offered by Fuelplaze, being a reasonable price, is not a reason. There are many companies that use the name OK, so why would Gaos be obliged to sell the name to Fuelplaza? Furthermore, Fuelplaza can also be found online at ok-olie.nl. The fact that Gaos does not wish to sell is not an abuse of power. There is no obligation to have an actual active website.


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