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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    NewZealand.biz Awarded to the New Zealand Government | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 23 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: NewZealand.biz Awarded to the New Zealand Gove
    by Anonymous on Friday October 11 2002, @03:45AM (#9700)
    The nature in which the government has gone about seizing NewZealand.biz amounts to little more than bullying other legitimate companies into seizing their assets, and pure government censorship.

    The Government does not have any rights to this domain name greater than any other entity or person in New Zealand:

    1. The government body (TradeNZ) applying for this name does *not* have a fully registered trademark for this name; according to the Intellectual Property Office, they have a trademark application that has not yet been approved. It is also extremely debatable whether they have any common law rights to the name greater than any other New Zealand person or organisation. Where, in any statute, particularly in the Trademarks Act, does it state that the term “New Zealand” can be owned exclusively by the government without any form of authorised and registered trademark ?

    2. TradeNZ has used big-bullying words and tactics in their WIPO application to either (a) impress WIPO and/or (b) scare the respondent in this case to give the domain up.

    3. The fact that they've tried to "cover this up" by asking this case to not be published (detailed in the WIPO decision) seems very dubious indeed.

    4. The NZ trademarks office literature actually states that you cannot register trademarks that are "Geographical locations which are associated with the goods or services e.g. Ohakune for carrots, Bluff for oysters." So why should the government be above its own trademark laws? Trade New Zealand is currently attempting to register the term "New Zealand" for what, exactly? Pink bunny slippers?!!!

    5. The NZ Government namespace is .govt.nz in to which it has absolute right. Claiming other namespaces is a slippery slope towards dictatorial control of Internet content and an impediment to free speech in this country.

    6. The complainant in this case, supposedly “Her Majesty the Queen, in right of her Government in New Zealand”, claims that the term “New Zealand” is owned collectively by all NZ citizens, organizations and the State. And yet the agency acting for “all New Zealand” is merely the New Zealand Trade Development Board (TradeNZ). Who is to say that TradeNZ can adequately reflect all New Zealanders?

    It seems that their website tradenz.com (also available at tradenz.govt.nz) isn't enough for them.

    About a year ago, when the first .biz Neulevel ‘lottery’ began, TradeNZ, through its crafty lawyers tried to “game” the Neulevel system by entering no less than six applications for this name. Their thinking must have been that the more applications, the greater its chances to become the first randomly selected IP owner to have the rights to initiate a STOP proceeding. As it so happened, they were the only one to lodge an IP against this name (despite other companies both in New Zealand and overseas actually owning a *legitimately registered trademark*)...

    If you’re interested in how I know all this, I too wanted to register NewZealand.biz for my company selling New Zealand tours. I spent a great deal of money and time in what I believed was a randomly selected round-robin. When I didn’t get the name, I was disappointed, but actually glad that it didn’t go to TradeNZ at least. Howerver their strong-arm bullying tactics appear to have finally paid off.

    People who have any other form of country-based / geographical domain name – beware. This case sets a very dangerous precedent for what the quasi-government agencies can snatch away from you.
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