The São Paulo State Court has ordered the suspension of a homepage registered in the United States by a Brazilian-based company. The court ruled that the homepage was potentially damaging to a Brazilian sports club by virtue of the similarity of the two domain names. The court also imposed a daily fine for any violation of the suspension order.

However, the judgment is not definitive since the sports club has brought a judicial action for protection of its trademark, which is proceeding at first instance.

The sports club owns a domain name which was assigned by and registered with the Brazilian Internet Management Committee, the competent government authority for domestic internet services. The respondent company, which specializes in the sale of sports goods, registered a similar domain name in the United States, but without the '.br' suffix.

The sports club called for suspension of the homepage on the grounds that (i) the similarity to its official domain name may cause confusion to consumers, and (ii) the action constitutes unfair competition in that it directly affects its trademark.

The peculiarity of the case lies chiefly in the fact that the respondent company resorted to registering a similar domain name abroad. Generally, the courts will view such an action suspiciously, as a technique for usurping the preferential and commercial exploitation rights.

For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Barretto or Camila Ramos Montagna at Barretto Ferreira, Kujawski, Brancher e Gonçalves – Sociedade de Advogados by telephone (+55 11 3066 5999) or by fax (+55 11 3167 4735) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).