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Focus News Posted: 2002-05-20 16:23:12

First Case of Chinese Domain Name

     (chinacourt.org)April 25 saw the First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing on hearing the case of ownership of a well-known Chinese domain name. This is as learned the first case of lawsuit on Chinese domain name in China.

The case

Beijing Zhengpu Technology Development Co., Ltd., accuser of the case, applied to the State Administration of Trademark for registration of a combined trademark of Chinese character with its Chinese phonetic alphabet "a li ba ba", and invested 2 million yuan in publicizing and popularizing the trademark thereafter.

However, when the company tried to register for the Chinese domain name last January, it found that the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) under the Computer Network Information Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences had put it aside for other company in advance. Later, the Alibaba Network Technology Development Co., Ltd. obtained this Chinese domain name through registration.

In this case, Zhengpu requests the court to adjudge its ownership of the Chinese domain name, and thinks that Alibaba's act of registration for this domain name has constituted a tort.

The decision

The First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing gave its first-instance verdict on December 10, saying it is not appropriate for CNNIC to reserve the domain name, but names of renowned website should be protected, thus dismissed the suit lodged by Zhengpu.

The court holds that it is necessary for CNNIC to reserve some names of technical codes, administrative regions, governmental departments and education institutions, but it is not appropriate for it to reserve names for trademarks, enterprises, shops, person names and brands. Therefore it is wrong for CNNIC to reserve the domain name of "a li ba ba". However, the name has belonged to a famous website. In such a case, returning the name to Zhengpu will cause loss to the website. According to stipulations of Trademark Law and Contract Law, the court has dismissed Zhengpu's suit.

While Zhengpu says the court's analysis on facts is not in accordance with its verdict given.

And then the accuser of the case, decided not to accept the first-instance judgement and appealed lately to the Higher People's Court of Beijing Municipality.