Owner of twitter.co.kr loses suit against Twitter

February 24, 2014

By Kim Da-ye

The owner of the domain www.twitter.co.kr has lost a lawsuit he brought against U.S. social network service Twitter in his bid to assert his right to keep the address.

At the request of Twitter, Korea’s state-run Internet Address Dispute Resolution Committee (IDRC) decided last year that the 42-year-old Korean identified as Go could no longer own the domain.

In defiance, Go filed a suit, asking the court to let him keep the domain because he intended to run an online travel agency under the address.

The Seoul Central District Court said Sunday that it ruled in favor of Twitter, describing Go as a domain collector who owned some 3,180 addresses as of 2009. He bought www.twitter.co.kr in 2008.

“When this domain is searched on portal sites, it is likely to attract Internet users who actually intend to visit Twitter,” the three-judge panel said in its ruling.

“Twitter was already globally known in 2008, and when he registered his domain, he knew about Twitter. Twitter has the right to demand that he relinquish his ownership of the domain.”

Go argued that he registered the domain a year before Twitter registered its service mark at the Korean Intellectual Property Office in 2009.

He also said that his planned tourism business has nothing to do with Twitter.

The court found his claims to be untrue. The judges further explained that he has never ran an online travel agency and currently has no evidence to show that he is preparing to do so.

It cited the fact that the website has neither a business registration number nor an online sales registration number, as reasons for its ruling.

The twitter.co.kr website currently only displays photos of various travel products, which the court said have been copied from elsewhere.

Under the Act on Internet Address Resources, one cannot register and own domains with the purpose of hindering those with lawful rights from obtaining them.

Individuals and organizations can also ask the IDRC to cancel another person’s domain if it breaches the complainants’ rights as protected under the trademark law or causes confusion with their names or brands.