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10. Intellectual property

10.1. France - Internet marketing of exclusive fashion designs and counterfeited videotapes constitutes copyright and trademark infringement

On 22 February 1999, the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris issued an injunction on a trademark infringement through the unauthorised Internet transmission of copyrighted material on fashion designs and from fashion shows. The suit was filed by the Christian Dior Couture company, one of the country’s most famous fashion houses, against the producers and service providers of a commercial web site ("http://www.worldmedia.fr") wrongfully using their trademarks and logos (Christian Dior / Fashion TV Paris, World Media Live, SECM et W2M). The defendants illegally reproduced and disseminated electronically exclusive fashion designs and photographs of collections of garments. They also marketed, through the contentious site, counterfeited video clips from Dior fashion shows. The court considered that these actions infringed the intellectual property rights of the legitimate trademark owner. The court made the distinction in the wording of the injunction between editorial responsibility for the site and its commercial function. It therefore ordered, on the one hand, its producers to cease reproducing the registered trademarks "Dior" and "Christian Dior" and on the other ordered seizure of the illegal videotapes they had produced.

The judgement is available on the Internet with commentary at http://www.legalis.net/legalnet/judiciaire/decisions/ord_tgi220299.htm

10.2. USA - ICANN selects competitive registrars for the .com, .net, and .org domains

On 21 April 1999, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), announced the five companies that have been selected to participate in the initial test bed phase of the new competitive Shared Registry System for the .com, .net, and .org domains. ICANN is a new global non-profit corporation which will co-ordinate the assignment of protocol parameters stage by stage, the management of the domain names and root server system and the allocation of IP address space between now and September 2000. Currently, registration services in the above domains are provided by Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), which enjoys an exclusive right to handle registrations under a 1993 Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Government.

According to the ICANN release, these five participants are, in alphabetical order, America Online, CORE (Internet Council of Registrars), France Telecom/Oleane, Melbourne IT and Register.com. They will be the first to implement the new system for competition in the market for .com, .net, and .org domain name registration services. ICANN also announced that 29 other applicant companies have met its accreditation criteria. They are expected to be accredited to compete as registrars upon completion of the test bed phase, which will begin on 26 April and will last until 24 June, 1999. Upon conclusion of the first phase, the Shared Registry System for the .com, .net, and .org domains will be opened on equal terms to all accredited registrars. Any company that meets ICANN's standards for accreditation will be able to enter the market as a registrar and offer customers competitive domain name registration services.

Press release available at http://www.icann.org/icann-pr21apr99.htm


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