Monday, September 27, 2004

Flippers, masks and cybersquatters

There's going to be a slightly weird press conference in Riga on Tuesday by a Russian-owned distributor of diving equipment which apparently had its name cybersquatted by a Latvian company in the same business. Trouble is, the court case, based on trademark infringement, was decided almost a year ago, evicting the Latvian company from the domain address.
It appears this is the first cybersquatting case in Latvia, but the reason for the one-year delay is that a) no one noticed it at the time, including this blogger and b) it gives an interesting twist to a presentation that otherwise would be all about aqualungs, flippers and spear fishing. Not exactly what the business/IT press jumps on. It is, apparently, one of the first visits to Latvia by Aquatex Group president Oleg Chebikin, whose company name, he says, was cybersquatted in 2002 by rival Juras vejs (Sea Breeze) in Latvia, another diving equipment and instruction company.
Under Latvian law, at least as Aquatex's lawyer explains it, domain registration creates no property rights, but registering a company and a trademark does. Apparently both irritated and inspired by the appearence his company's cybersquatted domain name, Mr. Chebikin decided to start a Latvian subsidiary, register a trademark and sue the SOBs. He won. Last year...

No comments: