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[comments-wipo] News Release: Small Businesses Warned after WIPO Decision
RELEASE FOR MONDAY 14TH AUGUST 2000
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.
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>