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FedEx in legal battle over domain name

Parcel giant Federal Express has become involved in a legal battle over an Internet domain name with a small New Jersey online...

Parcel giant Federal Express has become involved in a legal battle over an Internet domain name with a small New Jersey online company

David Bicknell

The battle, over the rights to use the worldontime.com tag, has led to two suits being filed in the New York district court. Federal Express claims that it owns "The World On Time" trademark, and that the smaller company, Dostana Enterprises, should transfer the domain "worldontime.com" to it.

But, in a counter suit, Dostana has called on the court to declare that it registered the name in good faith, and that the domain name doesn't violate federal "anti-cybersquatting" laws.

The row is the latest to occur over the use of Internet domain names - one of the pillars of cyberspace commerce - which have become a marketing channel in their own right.

Cybersquatting is a term that covers the unauthorised registration of a company's trademark as a domain name with the goal of "selling" that name back to the larger company. A number of famous name companies have found their trademarks registered by domain name "pirates", causing headaches for e-commerce directors.

Dostana's lawyers said the company registered the name to coincide with an online medical referral system. It already has the medontime. com name, and added the worldontime.com name as a supplement.

Federal Express has a 1994 trademark for "The World On Time" for shipping services, and would have to persuade the courts that Dostana's use of "worldontime" created confusion, diluting Federal Express's trademark.

This was first published in February 2000

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