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Ad agency sues over domain name
Copyright © 1998 to Bruce Simpson, syndication rights available
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12 May 1998

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ISOCNZ, New Zealand's authorised domain registration authority has been hit with a law suit from Oggi Advertising after a surprisingly elusive individual registered the name oggi.co.nz.

In its suit, Oggi allege that ISOCNZ has conspired to infringe their trademark and is party to the act of "passing off" (an attempt to use someone else's intellectual property in a deceptive manner).

In a media statement issued yesterday, ISOCNZ made it clear that they issue domain names strictly on a "first-come, first-served" basis.

ISOCNZ has taken this stance with the deliberate intention of distancing itself from any legal action which may result from trademark or service mark infringements.

Although there have been a number of other trademark disputes resulting from domain name registrations, this is the first occasion where legal action has involved ISOCNZ or its domain name company, Domainz. In previous cases, the trademark holder has taken action directly against the individual or company which registered the infringing domain name.

ISOCNZ chairman Jim Higgins and Domainz chief executive Patrick O'Brien both denied the allegations and were optimistic that the courts would endorse their "first-come, first-served" policy.

The Domainz Terms of Service makes it clear that acceptance of the registration process requires applicants to indemnify ISOCNZ and Domainz against liability in the case of trademark disputes.

"We have already begun the process to exercise indemnification against the parties concerned" said Mr O'Brien.

The oggi.co.nz domain which is the subject of this dispute has been registered by an Elliot Oggi who lists the Department of Physics at the University of Western Ontario as his contact address. A phone call to the University this morning however, turned up no trace at all of anyone with the surname Oggi. No trace of an Elliot Oggi could be found on the staff register and nobody in the physics department knew of a student with that name. Likewise a search of the University's student and staff list using the WhoIs facility turns up no trace.

Aardvark has emailed Mr Oggi for comment at the address given in the Domainz registry but notes that it's not uncommon for people to use free yahoo.com addresses when they wish to obtain some level of anonymity.

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