The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has stepped in to effectively force the shutdown of an Australian e-tailer, following a trademark dispute with a U.S. company of the same name.
Complaints by US discount e-tailer 1SaleAday to WIPO have forced the operators of 1SaleADay.com.au to shut up shop, leaving customers in the lurch with unfulfilled orders.
The operators of 1SaleADay.com.au - which advertised stock of the Apple iPad before its official launch - were forced by WIPO to transfer ownership of the domain name to the US e-tailer.
WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations that deals with intellectual property disputes.
WIPO found that Australians Simon Mochkin and Eli Feigli, sole shareholders of One Sale A Day Australia Pty Ltd and former owners of onesaleaday.com.au and 1saleaday.com.au, had registered the names in "bad faith", according to case documents.
CRN has contacted Mochkin and his lawyers Guy & Hinton Lawyers Australia, seeking comment.
The duo were forced to transfer the ownership of the domain names to the US-based owner of 1SaleADay, Benyamin Federman.
Federman's company has subsequently pulled the 1SaleADay.com.au site, hosted by TPP internet, offline, and posted the following message.
"The former holders of the domain names were found to be infringing on the intellectual property rights of the 1SaleADay US website.
"The website may be out of service for a while as a result of this transition. We will keep you posted. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused."
Screen shot taken by CRN October 21
Vice president of 1SaleAday LLC Eli Federman has apologised to customers impacted by the closure.
"1SaleADay sincerely apologises to any unwitting customers that assumed affiliation between the US and AU companies", Eli Federman, vice president of 1SaleAday told CRN via email.
"After taking control of the highjacked website, we received and continue to receive emails from customers asking where their orders are. We cannot take responsibility for the illegal actions of the unauthorised AU franchise, but we will do everything in our power to compensate those victims.
"Our company is approved by the U.S. Better Business Bureau and plans on continuing to live up to its exceptional reputation. When 1SaleADay opens up a franchise in AU we will provide exceptional customer service," he said.
The decision was handed down in September by sole WIPO panelist Andrew F. Christie following Benyamin Federman's filing to WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Centre on July 23, 2010. Proceedings commenced via email a month later.
A TPP spokesperson told CRN that it "does not have any control" over the dispute.
"This is a decision of both auDa [The Australian Domain Name Authority] and WIPO. Since TPP Internet is an accredited registrar we are bound to comply with any decision made by either governing body," the spokesman for TPP Internet said.
NEXT: What led to the disagreement
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Issue: 343 | October 2015