Australian Rugby Union refused ownership of

Australia’s rugby union team has lost another clash, this time over its domain name, with a tribunal striking down the organisation’s claim to

Perth-based company Ebusiness Pty Ltd registered the name in 2006 and set up a page linking to information sites about the marsupials. Last year, the ARU filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and sought to take ownership of the name.

The loss comes as the rugby union body prepares for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

In its complaint, the ARU alleged the business had no rights or legitimate interests in the Wallabies domain, while the sporting body held a number of trademarks for the name.

The ARU also claimed the Perth company had compromised its claim to site as the business hid its details at the time of buying the domain, saying: “It is difficult to ascertain when the respondent first gained possession of the disputed domain name as the registration has been masked through the use of a privacy service.”

In its response, Ebusiness pointed out the ARU only held the trademark to ‘Wallabies’ in certain classes and the company had never claimed to represent the sporting organisation or team.

The company also pointed out that, as a common name, the organisation couldn’t claim exclusive rights to the word ‘Wallabies’.

Despite the ARU filing a supplementary complaint, the WIPO panel handed the sports body a comprehensive defeat ruling: “The panel does not find that the disputed domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.”

The panel also slammed the ARU’s preparation of the complaint, saying: “The panel considers that the complainant was careless in the preparation of its case.”

However it paid the ARU a sole point in rejecting Ebusiness’ claim that the whole issue had been a bad-faith attempt to harass the company, writing: “It does not consider that the complaint or the supplemental filing were designed to harass or intimidate the respondent.”

The ARU declined to comment about the loss and the WIPO panel’s criticism of its application when contacted by Mumbrella.

For the moment, those visiting will find themselves visiting a page linking to sites about the cute marsupials rather than the Australian national rugby team.


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