If you think the trademark laws are tough in the United States, you should check out the french laws.
If you visit Sedo’s home page for France, you will see on the bottom of the front page a judgment of a French court entered against Sedo for a total of 95,000 Euro’s for apparently just parking a domain its didn’t own.
On February 15, 2010 the Court of Appeals fined SEDO who was parking the domain, SafeNames.com which looks like they were the domain registrar, and a company named Lantec who was the domain owner.
According to the judgment the domain was used “in reference to pornographic websites”.
SafeNames was fined $5,000 for being the domain registrar.
Lantec, the domain holder and Sedo the parking company were fined jointly and severally for 50,000 Euros for “Fraud”
Sedo was then fined 30,000 Euro’s individually as “compensation for damage to the trademark holders image”
Sedo was then ordered to pay INPI costs of 15,000 Euro’s making the total a whopping 95,000 Euro’s or about $130K for Sedo.
Lantec, the domain owner was also fined another 15,000 Euro’s for Fraud individually.
The court then ordered each of the companies to “post the contents of this judgment in English. French and German on the home page they own for one month or face an additional fine of 150 euro’s per day until the judgment is posted.
This is why if you go to Sedo’s french site you will find the judgment on the bottom in several languages, lets call it Sedo’s Scarlet Letter.
The Court described the violation, not as trademark infringement, but as of Counterfeiting and Unfair Competition.
I personally don’t understand how the registrar got fined at all, and have no idea of why the parking company got fined more than the company that registered and owned the domain. While the 50,000 fine was jointly and several, meaning each are responsible for the whole, the individually leveled fines where 30,000 Euro’s in the case of Sedo but only 15,000 Euro’s for the domain owner.
This is not the first time Sedo has been held liable for damage by a French Court. Back in 2007 Sedo was fined in exceess of 100,000 Euro’s in a case involving Le Meridien Hotels and several domains that the court found violated its trademarks which were being parked by Sedo.
If the courts in France can hold companies liable for just parking domains or even worse, for just allowing someone to register a domain, as in Safenames, it’s going to be awfully expensive to do business there.
Something to think about but you jump into the .Fr market.