So, the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism set up ‘Culture Ireland’ as a specialised agency. Tragically, though, they had let the domain name expire, and had to go a-looking for it back. (After spending loadsa(public)money on printing up letterheads etc with the addresss on it, in fact). The new registrant, ‘Odyssey Internet Portal Limited, Dublin‘ didn’t respond to the dispute resolution proceedings at WIPO, and normally in this case, the complainant (especially when a part of a national government!) wipo’s the floor and gets their name back.

But not this time. Oh no.

The Department didn’t bring proper evidence, and couldn’t even convince the panel of the marketing, promotion etc that they had already put in place. And so they concluded..

In light of the lack of detail concerning the period, nature and extent of the Complainant’s use of the name “Culture Ireland”,

Strike one.

the failure of the Complainant to provide any evidence at all in support of its assertions,

Strike two.

and the highly descriptive nature of the name,

Strike three!

the Panel finds that it does not have sufficient information to conclude – even prima facie – that the name “Culture Ireland” is, or has become, distinctive of the Complainant and/or its services.

Oh dear. Who’s going to tell the Minister?

And then the final insult. Just like losing an election to a dead guy. (Hi, John Ashcroft).

This is notwithstanding that the Registrant has not contested the Complainant’s case.


Full report from WIPO. Thanks to for spotting this.