In a case heard by the
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Lieberman
successfully defended his client, Future Media Architects
Inc., against a challenge from Kiwi European Holdings
B.V. over FMA's ownership and use of the domain name KIWI.com.
Future Media Architects will retain full rights and ownership of the domain
name under the WIPO ruling.
Though Kiwi European Holdings, a subsidiary of the
giant Sara Lee Corporation
the popular KIWI
brand of shoe care products and the related U.S. and foreign
trademarks, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Panel found no evidence of bad
in its ownership of the domain name
Kiwi.com. The Panel
concluded that FMA neither intended nor created any consumer confusion or disruption
relating to the Kiwi Brand.
a recognized domain name dispute
expert from the Washington D.C.
firm Greenberg & Lieberman,
said "the decision by the Panel clearly establishes FMA's good faith ownership of
the Kiwi.com domain name and affirms that ownership and use of generic domain names is a legitimate and appropriate business activity. More importantly, the
Panel cited Kiwi European Holdings behavior as a clear abuse of administrative
procedure, by holding that Kiwi's complaint was brought in bad faith with a
complete lack of evidence in what the Panel termed a clear "instance of reverse domain name
"We are gratified that the Panel saw this complaint for what it was
- frivolous," Lieberman said. "FMA will continue to vigorously defend its intellectual property; it is just unfortunate that FMA has been forced to
defend itself against a complaint that had no basis. We certainly hope that this ruling will dissuade other corporations from attempting to claim
ownership to generic terms to which they have no exclusive right." FMA currently manages
a portfolio of more than 100,000 domain names. Full text of the WIPO Arbitration Panel's decision in
Case No. D2004-0848 can be found online
through this link.
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