October 28, 2005

Debarred from suing in your own country? Try UDRP

Not only the WIPO decision D2005-0603 (spar.com) is interesting, it shows an advantage of the UDRP procedure on judicial trademark litigation, at least to French lawyers.
In this case, the domain name owner registered it in 1993 (while the complainant's first SPAR trademark "seems to have been registered in 1963"), and the procedure is launched in 2005. Laches? The panel did not discuss this (see scorpions.com, D2001-0787, at § 6.6: "The Panel does not consider that a delay of 4½ years in bringing the Complaint disentitles the Complainant to a remedy under the Policy").
Given the facts, the trademark could not have brought a lawsuit in France. In the French IP code, article L716-5 states that "[a]ny proceedings for infringement by a later registered mark of which use has been tolerated for five years shall not be admissible unless the registration was applied for in bad faith." Therefore, this case shows that UDRP offers a tool to a trademark owner in France who would not have made his claim in France within the prescribed time limit.

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