Galliano wins cyber-squatting case at U.N. agency

GENEVA Wed Mar 2, 2011 3:38pm EST

Fashion designer John Galliano leaves after a hearing in a police station in Paris February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Fashion designer John Galliano leaves after a hearing in a police station in Paris February 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

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GENEVA (Reuters) - British designer John Galliano, who was sacked by fashion house Christian Dior for his alleged anti-Semitic behavior, won a cyber-squatting case on Wednesday.

A U.N.-appointed arbitrator ruled Galliano had trademark rights to his internationally recognized name and ordered the disputed Internet domain name galliano.fr transferred to him within 10 days.

Jean-Claude Combaldieu, the arbitrator named by the U.N.'s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), found the French-based operator Web Intelligence had misused the site, which it had registered in May 2006.

"It is obvious that the defending party wanted to take advantage of the fame linked to the name 'Galliano' to fool Internet users and attract them to the site...," he said.

Combaldieu said the disputed site directed users to other commercial sites. "Some of these links use the name 'Galliano' without authorization for fashion products. As explained by the complainant, these acts can constitute forgery."

"As a consequence and in light of these circumstances, the registration and use of the disputed domain name constitutes a violation of the complainant's rights and the rules of fair competition," he said.

Galliano's main site is, registered in December 1996. He filed the case against Web Intelligence at WIPO in January 2011. Combaldieu said Web Intelligence had not replied to the complaint, which both sides have 10 days to appeal.

Galliano joins other top designers including Americans Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein as well as German fashion house Hugo Boss and Malaysian-born shoe designer Jimmy Choo and Italy's Dolce and Gabbana who have all won cases at WIPO.

Other celebrities who have ousted cyber-squatters through the Geneva-based agency's fast-track procedure include Jennifer Lopez, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Cruise, Celine Dion, Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman, Madonna and Julia Roberts.

French prosecutors on Wednesday said he will stand trial over the alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments.

Galliano has issued a public apology saying anti-Semitic and racism have no part in society.

He also said that he was subjected to "verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault" during the incident and had begun legal proceedings for defamation and threats made against him.

(Editing by Jonathan Lynn and Matthew Jones)

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