domain-name-infringement

Repression of cybersquatting practice regarding the infringement of domain name

The sector of intellectual property rights has seen rapid expansion particularly as a result of the increase in internet use ensuing in consolidation of trademarks, domain names and patents. The infringement of such rights is not easily recognisable as the infringers are very careful when replicating the content of a domain name holder and subsequently creating major confusion for the consumer.

In case of infringement of intellectual property rights such as the consolidation and use of a domain name, a complainant must base their case upon certain criteria. The two most commonly used are the similarity or resemblance of the domain name(s) and the abusive conduct of acting in bad faith.

Regarding the former, the Registrar of domain names has the discretion to offer future clients similar domain names with an already registered one but which is not already taken.

The hairline of legal and illegal practice lies on the possibility of occurrence of significant risk of consumers to be deceived, defrauded or at least confused by the newly registered domain name, consequently resulting in an anti-competitive practice.

With regards to the latter mentioned infringement, this encompasses the abusive conduct of a third party by acting in bad faith; this is actionable and subject to remedies. The complainant of such a case must thus prove that bad faith registrations and uses of other’s marks intend to create unfair profits to third parties from the goodwill of operations of the complainant.

The remedies offered in such cases give the domain name holder the opportunity to suppress such infringement and restore the intellectual property rights; all with a high chance of succession.

The first remedy offered is the simplest – this is to inform the Registrar of the infringer about the relevant violation. When the Registrar is notified there is obligation for further action(s) to be taken in order to suppress such infringement. Inter alia, the Registrar’s duty is to check whether the allegation of the complainant is legally based and if this is so, to initiate the procedure of taking down the cyber-squatters’ domain name.

In contrast, when the Registrar is acting in bad-faith and refuses to take steps in order to suppress such infringement, then the Registrar may be liable of contributory infringement of the complainant’s intellectual property rights. In this case, it is provided through the ICAAN Registrant Accreditation Agreement (RAA) that the complaints against the Registrar (and against the Infringer) can be filed before the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policies (UDNDRP).

The second remedy offered is through UDNDRP. The UDNDRP is offered through WIPO and sets out the legal framework (UDNDRP Policy and Rules) for the resolution of disputes arising between a domain name Registrant and a third party regarding the abusive registration and use of an Internet domain name. The UDNDRP process is relatively quick, with decisions given within 30 – 60 days of filing the complaint. This procedure gives the complainant the opportunity to prove their case before reaching the court; this also has an international scope as it offers a sole mechanism for resolving a domain name dispute regardless of where the Registrar or the domain name holder or the complainant are located, hence, there are no jurisdictional issues. Another advantage is that filing a complaint will also temporarily prevent the Registrant from transferring a domain name to any third party until a decision has been reached.

The last option available is going before a court against the Infringer and the Registrar. If a case is decided against the Infringer and the Registrar of the domain name, the court may attribute damages to the complainant resulting from the suspension, cancellation, or transfer of the domain name. Moreover, the court may award injunctive relief to the domain name Registrant by ordering the reactivation of the domain name or the transfer of the domain name back to the domain name Registrant. In any case, going before a court is only preferable as a “last-resort option” since it is very difficult to battle the jurisdiction issues so as to ultimately decide which court has jurisdiction to resolve the case.

It is very important for the domain name holders to know that, although an infringement of intellectual property rights in this form is very hard to be recognized, attributed remedies are no longer considered intangible.

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Does a bank owe a duty to its customers?

It is a well-known fact that many people face very serious problems with their loan agreements, bank accounts, deposits and the like. As a consequence, they become parties in a judicial dispute after banks initiate a legal claim against them in order to gain back ‘their’ money. The outcome is very obvious; being in favour of the banks. But what do banks have to do in order to protect their interests and also their clients? Do they owe a duty to them?

Without a doubt, the relationship between banks and customers is one of contractual nature. Thus, banks should be guided, at first, by the principles of contract law. In a contractual relationship, there is a fiduciary duty between the parties; this means that each party must act bona fide towards the other. This fiduciary duty exists not only to banks’ customers when they ask for financial assistance and particularly loan agreements, but also to third parties, such as guarantors. Banks should inform their customers about the risks they may face in the future in relation to their loans. This duty extends to guarantors, as third parties to the contractual relationship between the bank and the customer. Guarantors have to be informed in case where the customers, whose loans guaranteed, do not comply with their obligations and/or debts.

Moreover, one may say that banks most certainly do owe a duty to their customers concerning fraud which may be committed by someone in chief – making a payment order on behalf of the customer. Special duty of care may arise when a client intends to make an investment. In this case the bank must give its opinion and/or all necessary information about the investment products. According to the Directive for the Professional Conduct of Banks 558/2007 of the Central Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Banks should adopt specific practices and follow certain rules in accordance with the provision of investment or ancillary services and the performance of investment activities.

In addition, the Association of Cyprus Banks established a Code of Conduct for all banks, aimed to promote their good practice standards and the trust that needs to exist in every relationship between the bank and a customer.  Furthermore, this Code established certain rules and practices that banks have to follow in order to ensure a fair ‘deal’ with the client. The Code does comply with Cyprus banking regulations, European and International standards. Unfortunately, it applies only to natural persons and not to legal entities.

The question is whether banks follow these deontology rules since they clearly owe a duty to their customers, and if it is possible, a duty to legal entities too – and if they don’t, what are the consequences? There is no clear answer as yet; meanwhile there are lot of pending legal procedures dealing with this matter and hopefully the outcome will be discovered within the following years.

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banking-cyprus

Banking in Cyprus

A successful recapitalised banking sector in Cyprus passed External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) stress tests and found a stable footing after the turmoil of the 2013 bail-in. Liquidity and solvency in the banking system have improved significantly, with exchange controls fully lifted in May 2015.

Foreign investors who want to open a company in Cyprus will have to open a bank account for the company to deposit the necessary minimum share capital. Individuals who work and live in Cyprus can also open a bank account for personal use. Cyprus joined the Eurozone in January 2008 and the official currency is the euro. This means that foreign company owners can benefit from transferring money from other euro accounts to Cyprus without being concerned about the foreign exchange rate.

Parparinos Milonas Corporate & Legal Consultants Ltd aims to provide a full package of services including the opening of bank accounts for companies and individuals. We aim to assist our clients in taking their decision on selecting the most suitable jurisdiction, bank and banking services.

Services

All major Banks offer a full set of banking services for individuals and businesses.

• Current and savings accounts

• Debit and credit cards

• Foreign currency exchange

• Long term savings and investment accounts

• Phone and online banking

There is a wide network of Banks across the country – foreign, Greek and Cypriot – and many of those in the major towns have English and some Russian speaking staff.

No appointment is necessary to open an account; the following documents are needed:

For Individual Accounts

• Passport or proof of identity, certified by an International Bank, Notary Public or Embassy, or Professional Firm;

• Proof of address in the English language, dated within the last three months, certified by an International Bank, Notary Public or Embassy, or Professional Firm;

• Bank reference letter, in the English language, from current or previous banker (required by some banks)

• Detailed Curriculum Vitae, in the English language

For Corporate Directors or Shareholders

• Full set of corporate documents, in the English language, legalized by the relevant authorities in the country of incorporation. The Documents must include:

  1. Certificate of Incorporation;
  2. Certificate of Registered Address;
  3. Certificate of Directors & Secretary;
  4. Certificate of Shareholders;
  5. Certificate of Good standing (if the company is more than 1 year old);
  6. Certificate of Incumbency, or extract from the Registry, or other official document, with a current date, clearly stating the Directors and shareholders, or certified true copies of the registrar of members and directors;
  7. Appointment of First Directors;
  8. Copy of Trust Deed;
  9. Copy of the most recent financial statements
  10. Business and operational profile;

Opening of Bank Accounts

• Detailed description of the main activities;

• Anticipated turnover of the company per annum;

• The expected origin of funds to be credited/debited;

• Group Structure with all companies/counterparties involved;

• Currencies

All of the above must comply with the rules and regulations of the Central Bank of Cyprus

Adopted Currency

Cyprus currency is the Euro.

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hungary-advertising-tax

EU Launches Investigation into Hungarian Advertising Tax

An investigation into whether Hungary’s advertising tax complies with EU state aid rules has been launched by the European Commission (EC).

The tax, which was introduced in June 2014, is presently based on turnover as opposed to profits and is applied at progressive rates ranging from 0 to 50%.

While the European Commission does not question Hungary’s right to impose the tax, or the level at which it is set, it is however concerned that progressive rates could “selectively favour certain companies and give them an unfair competitive advantage.” The EC therefore has further prohibited Hungary from applying such rates until the conclusion of its investigation.

The EC stated “A progressive tax based on turnover places larger players at a disadvantage, unlike a progressive tax based on profits, which can be justified by the higher burden-bearing capacity of very profitable companies,”

Earlier, cabinet chief János Lázár, had told commercial channel ATV that he expected the tax to be cut to as little as five percent in response to increasing pressure from Brussels. Nevertheless, he still favoured a progressive rate “to protect small businesses.”

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said she welcomed signals from the Hungarian Government that they intend to make changes. She added that the state aid investigation would “look in detail both at how the advertisement tax applies currently as well as how it is amended, to make sure there is no unfair discrimination against certain media companies.”

Any interested parties will now have the opportunity to make “without prejudice” comments on the investigation.

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cyprus-exits-bailout

Cyprus Exits Bailout Program

Eurozone finance ministers celebrated in Brussels as Cyprus exited its bailout programme – the fourth EU country to do so, while Greece’s creditors continued to stall over its latest rescue package. Cyprus signed up to a rescue package of as much as €10 billion ($11 billion) in March 2013, when its banks collapsed and the country had to impose capital controls to prevent financial meltdown.

The bailout was launched in March 2013, when Cypriot banks collapsed and the country imposed capital controls to prevent complete financial meltdown. While the economy slumped by 5.9 per cent in 2013 and shrank by another 2.5 per cent in 2014, provisional figures show that it rose by 1.4 per cent in 2015, and it is forecast to grow by 1.5 per cent this year.

Eurozone finance ministers, who met in Brussels for their monthly gathering, praised the island for its efforts to bring its economy back on track and confirmed that Cyprus would exit its three-year, €10bn (£7.7bn) programme on 23 March. The IMF’s president, Christine Lagarde, congratulated Cyprus on its “accomplishments under the economic adjustment programme, which has delivered an impressive turnaround”.

They said they “welcomed the fact that economic activity has continued on a positive trend, and the banking system has further healed.”

“We can all rejoice at the success of this program and we can say that the Cypriot economy is reinforced by this program,” said Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economic affairs chief.

Indeed, Cyprus has outperformed on almost every major economic indicator, as it has refocused its economy on tourism, shipping, construction and business services. Its debt is lower than forecast (106 per cent in 2015 rather than 126 per cent), it has a budget surplus (down from a 5.5 per cent deficit in 2013), and the current account is almost in balance.

“There is still one prior action outstanding, but overall the Cypriot authorities have delivered a very, very good job,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who presides over the discussions with his counterparts in the eurozone.

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