BUSINESS
03/25/2014 01:33 EDT | Updated 03/25/2014 01:59 EDT

Quebec Loses Quebec.com Domain Name Dispute

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The government of Quebec won't be able to use the "Quebec.com" web domain anytime soon.

The province has lost a challenge over the "Quebec.com" domain name, with the ruling even gently mocking the government for waiting so long to file a complaint.

Quebec filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) last year, arguing that Anything.com, which owns the Quebec.com website, should lose its right to the domain because it infringes on Quebec’s wordmark, among other things.

A three-person panel disagreed, ruling last week that the province of Quebec had failed to prove copyright infringement, and had failed to prove the owner of Quebec.com was acting “in bad faith” and trying to confuse web surfers into thinking they were visiting a Quebec government site.

The panel also took a jab at Quebec’s decision to file a complaint 15 years after Anything.com registered the site, in 1998.

"The present case is a classic example of the problems facing complainants who do not pursue their remedies in a timely manner," the panel stated.

Anything.com is a company registered in the Cayman Islands that appears to own a sizable trove of domain names.

The Quebec.com website appears to be “parked” — it’s showing an auto-generated page, with links to Quebec-related advertising. The page has an image of a Quebec flag.

Anything.com’s lawyers had argued the province’s complaint was a case of “reverse domain name hijacking.” But the WIPO panel disagreed, saying Quebec’s complaint was filed out of a legitimate concern for protecting its copyrights.

(H/t: Michael Geist)

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