Disputable domain goes to copyright holder

Disputes over domain names have long been a part of the Russian judicial practice. More and more often, Cyrillic domain names under .РФ become subjects of dispute – more proof of Cyrillic domains being valuable for business. Copyright holders successfully defend their rights to dot-brands on the basis of the .RU and .РФ Domain Registration Rules.

In July 2020, a Pskov Region Commercial Court decision entered into force; the court sustained the MOESK power utility’s claim about the improper use of the domain МОЭСК.РФ. A year before that, MOESK filed a lawsuit demanding that the court recognize the actions of the defendant – an individual – such as registration and administration of the МОЭСК.РФ domain name as an act of unfair competition and prohibit the use of a designation that sounded similar to the plaintiff's company name in the МОЭСК.РФ domain name.

The court agreed that the plaintiff, as the copyright holder, has the exclusive (priority, preemptive) right to use their trademark in any way that does not contradict the law, including on the internet. The illegal use of the plaintiff’s trademarks was confirmed by the appropriate evidence included in the case file.

As a result, the defendant was prohibited from using the designation similar to the corporate name of the public joint stock company MOESK, as well as to the trademarks owned by MOESK in the domain name МОЭСК.РФ.

In accordance with the Regulation On Procedures Governing Domain Name Disputes approved by TLD .RU/.РФ Coordination Center, the domain registrar RU-CENTER transferred the МОЭСК.РФ domain to the copyright holder.

“This domain dispute is to some extent revealing of the entire domestic domain industry. It is an example of how courts reviewing domain disputes pay attention to how the domain name is being used. It is also important that the court decision was promptly enforced by the registrar, largely due to Regulation On Procedures Governing Domain Name Disputes. The Coordination Center experts have carefully thought out all the possible procedures that could be applied in such cases and spelled them out in detail in the Regulation. Both lawyers and representatives of registrars who are familiar with real-life situations were involved in the drafting process. The collective drafting of such documents is a well-proven practice,” Director of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ Andrei Vorobyev commented on the domain dispute.

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