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A multinational American department store chain had a registered website in Brazil (.com.br). This website was copied by reproduction of its name through the addition of a repeated letter (Typo), constituting ‘typosquatting’. This was done by a Brazilian citizen intending to attract the clients from the registered site of the American company in Brazil.
What is typosquatting?
Inspired by the word ‘typo’ - which means misspelt, typosquatting is a domain registration of a well-known website name purposely misspelled or with common typos. Registrars are usually people who do not own the original domain of the well-known website referenced.
Analyzing the case, the court understood that the domain registration should be cancelled. The judge considered that the defendant (who was an individual citizen) could not ignore the internationally notoriety of the American Company's trademarks.
Furthermore, it was concluded that a specific characteristic in the name of the defendant’s registered domain, undoubtedly was misleading and confusing the public to identify his/her site with the American website. The defendant’s argued that he/she had registered his/her domain previously to the American company’s domain. ‘First to Serve, First to Use’ was considered irrelevant in this case.
What is ‘First to Serve, First to Use’?
It is a principle by which the registration of a domain belongs to the one who first requested it, provided that legal requirements are observed and without misleading, confusing and in conflict with any registered names in other public institutions.
Why is this case important?
It was one of the first lawsuits which dealt with the improper registration of domain names - intending to attract another company’s clientele whose name is similar, well-known, or famous.