Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cybersquatting court case NZ Post vs Yellow Pages

Update 25 February 2011 - I'm informed that the case has since been settled out of court.
From the "I don't like you playing in my back yard" file. According to the Herald:
"New Zealand Post's new directories business Localist is suing Yellow Pages Group over allegations Yellow breached the Fair Trading Act by buying up similar web addresses and Google adwords in a deliberate attempt to divert online searches from Localist to itself.
the Yellow Pages Group had bought a range of internet domain names which were almost identical to the Localist internet address. The addresses include and

"Those domain names were directing traffic to a web page promoting the Yellow Pages and YPG's other directory services," Localist chairman Sam Knowles alleges in an affidavit.

Localist also alleges that Yellow paid to have its website appear at the top of Google searches of the word "localist".

The interesting thing here from a domaining perspective it that this is going to go to court and we may end up with some real NZ case law on cybersquatting. Both sides of the argument have enough resources to fully put their cases. Hopefully they will get a judge with enough knowledge of the Internet to make a sensible ruling.

One thing to watch out for is that it would be easy to argue that "local lists" is generic, but given the rest of the report and the other names they have it's likely to be difficult to get this accepted as an innocent use of a generic domain name. I'm just hoping that we don't get a ruling that effectively eliminates the protection that generics have had in the past.

1 comment:

Localist Listings said...

Good point. I don't think it will be an issue (generic domains) in future... plus it looks like the case got resolved and it came out in favour of Localist.