Today’s Irish edition of the Sunday Times has an article on the cybersquatters referred to commonly as “EUBrowser” entitled “Cybersquat Firm Lurks in Digital Hub”.
I’ve mentioned them in the past, as they lost several WIPO cases including adidas.ie, buy-sell.ie and a couple of Google squats (googl.ie and googel.ie) that were settled before WIPO had a chance to publish a decision.
The Sunday Times’ Mark Tighe spoke to several people including myself, John McCormack and David Curtin of the IE Domain Registry to get industry opinion on their activities.
The interview itself is amusing:
Varga and Petho say they plan to fight the WIPO decision in the Irish courts. Varga said:”Large companies have had plenty of time to register their desired names, so it is their fault if they choose not to. As registrations work on a first-come, first-served basis each business should secure its online existence at an early stage.”
Oh give over guys! You infringed Google, Adidas and Buy and Sell’s IP and got caught. Do you honestly expect any court anywhere, never mind Ireland, to suddenly rewrite intellectual property law to suit your nefarious needs?
You were caught. You lost. Deal with it!
But they just don’t know when to stop:
The pair claim the idea for adidas.ie came not from the sportswear company but from the acronym of advanced detailed internet directory and search
That was mentioned in their attempted defence at WIPO.
It reminds me of the skype.co.uk case.
And what of bebo.ie?
I’m amazed that there hasn’t been a case about that yet.
And of course the thing that is going to really get up people’s noses is that these guys are receiving aid from the Irish government, as they are based in The Digital Hub which is described as:
..an Irish Government initiative to create an international centre of excellence for knowledge, innovation and creativity focused on digital content and technology enterprises.
The quote from me is quite short and reflects my opinion:
Michele Neylon, managing director of Blacknight Internet Solutions, a webhosting company, said: “These guys are the biggest single holders of generic and dubious .ie domains. Generic names are fine, but these two have registered so many names that impinge on other people’s rights I don’t know how they expect to get away with it.”
To put it another way.
I don’t take issue with their registration of the generic names. I do take serious issue with their registration of names that blatantly infringe on other people’s intellectual property.
John McCormac says
It should be interesting to see if ComReg exercises its new powers.
Varga and Petho must have spent a fair amoutn of money a) for the CRO RBNs b) for the IEDR domain fees. I wonder have they seen a positive return on their “investment” overall?
Michele Neylon says
Ambrand – It’s something we’ve discussed several times in the past. It’s impossible to say with any certainty, but I would wonder.
John McCormac says
The story has made the big time now – ENN.ie is blogging about it. 😉 Seriously though, it remains to be seen if there will be any action over this. The Sunday Times article did raise some interesting issues especially regarding the Digital Hub. The title of the article in the Sunday Times pulled no punches and it was very embarrassing for the DH to be caught up in all this. If Eubrowser had just stuck to generics there would have been no problems. However IEDR seems to be trying to play both sides by allowing Eubrowser AKA Firstplex to register the domains despite these domains being high profile cybersquats and then by claiming it has written to patent attorneys outlining its concerns over the cybersquats. If IEDR had a proper board (rather than useless CV padders) or policy advisory board then this mess would not have happened.
des b says
These guys are scum and should be thrown out of the digital hub. What they do restricts irish online enterprise and damages commerce. The fact that the they get gov funding makes my blood boil. The Digital Hub is now a international centre for squatters and Gabor Varga and Jozsef Petho go against everything it alledgely stands for.
Michele Neylon says
From what I’ve seen it looks like they’ve been letting a lot of their IE domains lapse and they may not be in the Digital Hub anymore either, though I can’t confirm that.
Please bear in mind that the post is almost a year old