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Battle over Steinlager domain name
Copyright © 1998 to Bruce Simpson, syndication rights available
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16 Apr 1998

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Steinlager New Zealand are currently locked in a battle to recover the domain name steinlager.com from a Mr Waugh who has registered it with InterNIC in the USA.

According to reports, Steinlager have already tried to tempt Mr Waugh into handing over the name by offering him some of their beer but so far he's turned them down.

In accordance with InterNIC's policy for handling disputes relating to domain name ownership conflicts, the domain has been put on "hold" and can currently be used by neither party. It is believed that prior to this action by InterNIC, the domain name was actually being used by Mr Waugh.

At least one legal opinion is that because Steinlager is the registered trademark of New Zealand Breweries Ltd, Mr Waugh would be ill-placed to defend any legal action to recover the domain. A twist to the story however is that if such legal action were to be taken by NZ Breweries, it would most likely have to be done within the USA, since that's where the domain name was issued.

While domain name speculation appears to be a growing activity both here in New Zealand and overseas, almost all cases involving trademarks have resulted in court decisions in favour of the legal trademark owner.

To date it has been the generic domains which have achieved the highest prices with some .com domains going for six-figure sums and at least one ".co.nz" domain selling for $5,000 here in New Zealand.

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