Social networking site Facebook has successfully acquired the rights to its Australian domain name, facebook.com.au, after the World Intellectual Property Organisation stripped the address from another business.
Marketing company Callverse has held the facebook.com.au address since 2007, but Facebook argued that because the group held no Australian or international trademark rights to the name, they had no basis for its ownership.
Facebook pointed to its status as the sixth most popular website in Australia, and its ownership of five trademarks related to the group as proof it should own the address.
Callverse, however, argued Facebook had no trademark rights in Australia before the registration of the domain name, and it had been purchased with the legitimate intent of offering business services.
The WIPO wrote in its arbitration: “It can be inferred from the evidence that [Callverse] obtained registration of the disputed domain name for the purpose of disrupting and/or free-riding on the business or activities of [Facebook] and hindering [Facebook’s] ability to expand its business in Australia.”
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