LinkedIn wins case against Irish man in ‘.ie’ row

A worldwide intellectual property watchdog has ruled that an Irishman cannot keep the Linkedin.ie domain name after the employment network LinkedIn.com made a complaint.

LinkedIn wins case against Irish man in ‘.ie’ row

The ruling by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) found that the registrant of Linkedin.ie had “intentionally attempted to attract internet users to a website or other online location by creating confusion with a protected identifier in which the complainant has rights”.

Linkedin.ie was registered with the IE Domain Register (IEDR) on February 12 this year and turns to a website — www.jobnetwork.ie — which offers information about jobs in Ireland. The word LinkedIn does not appear anywhere on the site.

It was registered to Niall Keaveney of Stocktrade Ltd in Dublin. Within weeks, LinkedIn.com had filed a complaint with WIPO, which contacted the IEDR seeking information. WIPO appointed Dublin-based barrister Yvonne McNamara to review the case.

Mr Keaveney made no reply to the complaint, while LinkedIn.com, which has its headquarters in California and has 347m members, argued that the domain name was registered in bad faith.

The WIPO findings state: “It is abundantly clear that the complainant not only has rights in the LinkedIn mark that has been incorporated into the disputed domain name but, with its commun-ity trademark registrations, it has the strongest kind of right possible in such a word, namely registration of the word in plain block type, in Ireland — the country of interest in connection with the disputed domain name and in respect of the precise services of interest.

“Under the circumstances the respondent does not, in the opinion of the panel, have any rights in law or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”

Paul Shortt of the IEDR said typically just half a dozen ‘.ie’ domain names are the subject of complaints in any given year, yet as many as 40,000 ‘.ie’ domain names are registered annually.

Already this year, 18,724 ‘.ie’ domain names have been registered with the IEDR, with almost 206,000 registered in total.

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