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Aimster to appeal against AOL domain decision

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Aimster is to appeal against the National Arbitration Forum's decision that it has to hand over its aimster.com, aimstertv.com and aimstertv.net domains because they allegedly infringe on AOL's Instant Messenger trademark.

"I'm going to appeal this decision. It's prejudiced and causes us irreparable damage," said Aimster's CEO Johnny Deep. He has until 1 June to appeal to a Virginia court.

The NAF decided two votes to one that Aimster was infringing AOL's trademark because it starts with A-I-M. The two judges in favour managed to overlook two of the three rules for handing over the domain and the third judge strongly disagreed with the decision.

We revealed on the day the decision was broadcast that AOL went to the NAF as opposed to its usual arbitrator WIPO because a previous decision for the domain icqplus.org had exact parallels with the Aimster case. AOL lost that case after the judge said owner Vadim Eremeev was entitled to run his business over the domain. With four million users, Aimster can certainly claim to be a legitimate business.

Deep also claims that the site is named after the pet name for his 16-year-old daughter Madeline - Aimee.

We contend that since "aim" is an extremely common verb and noun that the likelihood of people confusing it with "America Online Instant Messenger" is minuscule.

If the NAF decision is not overturned, it stands to gain extensive publicity and business from companies keen to take control of all Web sites that feature any of their trademarks. We can only hope that commonsense prevails. ®

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