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Dutch companies fined €7k for eBay typosquatting

WIPO ruling

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Dutch graphic design company JustDesign and customer J. van Dalen have been ordered by The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to pay a fine of €7000 for registering the domain name e-bay.nl. The name was used for a website with information on Van Dalen, a company which inspects buildings.

Although the site didn't misrepresent the popular auction house, eBay was not amused. As it registered with the Benelux trademark office as early as 1998, the company filed a complaint with the Arbitration and Mediation Center of WIPO, which prohibited both companies from registering domain names similar to e-bay.nl and ordered them to pay both arbitrator fees and administrative costs.

JustDesign and Van Dalen argued that eBay initiated the arbitration proceedings without first attempting an amicable settlement, but WIPO disagreed, saying that the defendant had "deliberately taken the risk of registering e-bay.nl".

Oddly enough, eBay hasn't filed a complaint against the owners of the domain "E-bay.com", US company CellExpress. As the auction house is often misspelled as e-Bay.com, many internet users will land at the site of CellExpress, which apparently is used for search engine purposes. ®

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