TiVo Suffers a Teensy Trademark Setback in Spain

TiVo Logo As TiVo prepares to launch in Spain, they’ve run into a little snag. They wanted to get the TiVo.es domain, .es being the Spanish Top Level Domain (TLD), just like .us, .uk, .au, etc. Makes sense, right?

Except it is already taken, by one Majan Fernandez Primitivo. He’s a rock musician who goes by the stage name ‘Tivo’, derived from his last name. And he registered Tivo.es back in 2005 to use for self-promotion. It currently redirects to his MySpace page.

According to Domain Name Wire, TiVo filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization to try to claim the domain. But the arbitrator sided with Primtivo. After all, it is his stage name and legitimately part of his legal name. And he is using the site for legitimate purposes, not infringing on TiVo’s trademarks at all.

Frankly, I’m glad. The domain name dispute system is meant to work this way. If you register a domain in bad faith, to profit from the reputation of a trademark holder for example, and you have no legitimate claim to the name, then under the policy you should lose it. The idea is to prevent domain squatters from claiming trademarked domains with the sole intention of holding it hostage for a high price, or unscrupulous types setting up a scam site trading off of a reputable trademark.

But if you register a domain in good faith and have a legitimate claim to it, just because a corporation may use the same name as a trademark doesn’t give them the right to take it away.

It isn’t clear from the article, but I’m hoping they didn’t turn to WIPO as their first option. The right thing to do would be to approach Primtivo with an offer to acquire the domain and to try to negotiate a reasonable solution. Maybe offering him free ONO service and a TiVo DVR (presuming he lives in their service area), buy him a new domain, etc.

Perhaps he turned them down and they decided to try to play hard ball, which frankly still doesn’t sit well with me – just accept it and move on. But if they didn’t try to negotiate before, that seems to be the option now and they’re probably not starting from a good position. After all, if someone tried to rip one of my domains out of my hands I wouldn’t be very inclined to view them favorably in a subsequent negotiation.

In any case, it looks like TiVo already grabbed mytivo.es in June, 2010. It redirects to the TiVo homepage. (Maybe someone should point that to the ONO sign up page instead? Wouldn’t that make more sense guys?)

Via Domain Name Wire.

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