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[comments-wipo] News Release: Small Businesses Warned after WIPO Decision

UK businesses warned of dot com jungle
 <A HREF="www.look-hear.com">www.look-hear.com</A>   versus <A 

IF YOU were running a media business for almost 20 years and a local 
competitor registered your business name as a web address, would you be 

Film maker, Jon Danzig, owner of the London media company, LOOK-HEARŪ, 
certainly was worried.  His business runs the multimedia website, <A 
HREF="www.look-hear.com">www.look-hear.com</A>.  But a rival London media 
business, Oscar Music and Media Ltd, recently registered <A 

He took the case for arbitration at the World Intellectual Property 
Organisation in Switzerland.

And lost.

WIPO decided against Mr Danzig because, it claimed, that his Look-Hear 
business was not famous enough.

"OK, I admit I am not anywhere near as famous as Coca-Cola, what small 
business is?" asked Mr Danzig, who left Roger Cook's investigative programme 
at the BBC in 1983 to start his Look-Hear business.

"To win, I had to prove that Oscar Music and Media had heard about me when 
they registered the domain name.  I thought they must have heard about me but 
how is that something you can easily prove?"

"It's a warning," continued Mr Danzig, " to all small businesses who find 
themselves in a similar situation.  This web domain rule that you have to 
prove the other company had heard about you when they registered your name is 
ridiculous.  It is like saying that you have to prove a burglar knew it was 
your property, otherwise he can keep it!"

Added Mr Danzig, "Surely, there cannot be two London media businesses with 
the same names?  Ok, their web name doesn't have a hyphen, but does that make 
enough of a difference?  After all, you wouldn't be allowed to open a beauty 
shop called "The-Body-Shop."

Now it may cost Mr Danzig tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost 
business and taking the case to court, if it goes that far.  "As every small 
business is starting to discover, the Internet is a dot com jungle.  What can 
small businesses now do to protect their business names?"

According to Mr Danzig's London trademark attorneys, Castles, this week's 
victory by Oscar Music and Media does not mean that they will be able to use 
the Look Hear web name for their media business, which makes the WIPO 
decision all the more odd.  

"The decision by WIPO has no effect on the issue of whether Oscar Music and 
Media can use the trademark LOOK HEAR," said their trademark agent, Steve 

"Although Oscar Music and Media own the domain, <A 
HREF="http://www.lookhear.com/">www.lookhear.com</A>, we cannot see that they 
will be able to use it for their media activities.  Oscar Music and Media do 
not own any rights in the name LOOK HEAR.  Mr Danzig, on the other hand, owns 
the registered UK trademark, LOOK HEAR, with trademark registrations pending 
in the European Union, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other 
territories to follow.  Mr Danzig has also built a considerable reputation in 
the LOOK HEAR mark over the last 18 years."

Added Mr Danzig, "Trade mark registrations are there to prevent other people 
from using your name.  Frankly, I cannot understand why Oscar Music and Media 
are so interested in using a name that belongs to someone else.  If they are 
clever and creative, they should surely be able to think up a name for 
themselves instead of having to pinch mine.  And really, WIPO should have 
recognised that in their decision."

The Look-Hear website, at  <A HREF="www.look-hear.com">www.look-hear.com</A>, 
will soon enable its customers to make their own customized tv programs, 
movies and music on the internet.

·   Jon Danzig Look-Hear Telephone Office: xxxxx xxxxxx Mobile xxxxx xxxxxx

·   Steve Waine Trademark Agent, Castles, 0208 688 3490   

·   Oscar Music and Media 0207 729 4343    

·   Word Intellectual Property Organization +41 22 338 9111

Related news story:  industry analyst GARTNER attack WIPO's ability to 
resolve dot com disputes. <A HREF="http://www.vnunet.com/print/1108497">vnunet
.com Watchdog lacks teeth on cybersquatting</A> 

 <A HREF="http://www.iwks.com/news/aug2000/0587.asp">Internet Works News - 
09/08/00 - Domain name discontent</A>