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					Domain name decision improves online protection of IP rights                                  Cybersquatting
Greece - Drakopoulos Law Firm

December 10 2010

Bacardi, the owner of the MARTINI marks, has scored another victory in Greece by obtaining three rulings in 
its favour with regard to the domain names 'mrtmartini.gr', 'martinicasual.gr' and
'martini.com.gr' (Decision 582/028, October 26 2010, formally served on December 1 2010).
 
The victory was twofold for Bacardi: on the one hand, the decision further confirms the reputation of
Bacardi’s MARTINI marks; on the other, it ascertained the legitimacy of Bacardi’s actions, notwithstanding
the existence of a settlement agreement with the Greek registrant of the domain names. Although the latter
was originally allowed to register the domain name 'mrtmartini.gr', the National Telecommunications and
Post Committee found that the Greek registrant should not be allowed to register any domain names
containing the word 'Martini', as it had breached, and thus effectively rescinded, the settlement agreement. 
 
The committee ruled in favour of Bacardi with regard to the domain names 'martini.com.gr' and
'martinicasual.gr' (which were not mentioned in the settlement agreement) on the grounds that they had
been registered and were being used in bad faith. With regard to the domain name 'mrtmartini.gr', a more in-
depth analysis was required and the committee applied a well-rounded and sophisticated approach.
         
In an elaborate decision, the committee examined the parties’ intentions in settling the matter, as well as
the good faith and fair business ethics required in such matters. After reviewing the parties’ submissions,
the committee found that Bacardi had allowed the registration of the domain name 'mrtmartini.gr' as a
compromise, with the implied caveat that the Greek registrant would:

    l   comply with the entirety of the settlement agreement; and
    l   register and use the domain name in good faith.

However, as Bacardi was able to prove that the Greek registrant had not respected the settlement
agreement and infringed Bacardi’s rights by using various conflicting marks and domain names, the
committee found that, notwithstanding the existence of the settlement agreement, use of 'mrtmartini.gr' by
the Greek registrant had become unfair to Bacardi.
 
This decision is good news for the entire alternative dispute resolution process in Greece. It goes beyond
the 'plain vanilla' domain name decisions that have already become the norm in Greece, and indicates the
importance of treating domain name with the importance that they deserve, by examining and applying the
relevant principles in a sophisticated manner. Therefore, the mere comparison of the domain name and the
mark at issue is not, in itself, sufficient. The decision thus seems to improve the protection of IP rights on
the internet in Greece.
 
Eleni Lappa, Drakopoulos Law Firm, Athens




 

World Trademark Review (www.worldtrademarkreview.com) is a subscription-based, practitioner-led,
bi-monthly publication and daily email service which focuses on the issues that matter to trademark
professionals the world over. Each issue of the magazine provides in-depth coverage of emerging
national and regional trends, analysis of important markets and interviews with high-profile
trademark personalities, as well as columns on trademark management, online issues and
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