THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2009
Metro Group obtains metrobar.ch, but not metro-express.ch
The German Metro Group is a gigantic distributor (retail and wholesale) and known for aggressively policing its trade mark rights in the term METRO. In two decisions brought under the "Swiss UDRP" against the registrants of the domain names metrobar.ch and metro-express.ch, it came out only partially on top.
In the case of metrobar.ch, which was used to advertise the services of a bar, the sole panelist held that METRO was undisputedly well known for gastronomy services and that adding a descriptive element ("bar") to a well known trade mark was insufficient to avoid likelihood of confusion.
In a second case, decided only six weeks later, another panelist came to a different conclusion regarding the domain name metro-express.ch. This domain name was used to advertise the services of a snack bar. The panelist doubted that METRO was well known for restaurant services. In any case, "Metro" was also a commonly understood term for subway. The respondent's snack bar was located in a pedestrian underpass beneath a railway station and below a building known as the "Metro house". In this context, Metro was understood descriptively by the relevant public. Transfer of the domain name was denied.
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