Hesco Bastion Limited, a leader in the design and manufacture of rapidly deployable barriers, has succeeded in a complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Centre concerning the misleading use of domain names which incorporate its trade mark HESCO®. The complaint was made against a Chinese manufacturer, Qiao Shi of Shijiazhuant, Hebei province.
Hesco argued that the website domain names hesco.org and hescobastion.org, registered by Qiao Shi without permission from Hesco, were misleading internet users as to the origin of the products sold by it and the legitimacy of its business.
Hesco has spent many years building up an unrivalled global reputation in force protection, and its HESCO® trade mark is registered across the world. Like many market leaders Hesco has experienced copycats seeking to exploit its reputation by selling unauthorized products under its internationally established brand.
Sir Ian Barker QC, an eminent retired Judge from New Zealand, sitting as a sole panelist for WIPO, found wholly in Hesco's favor. He delivered a scathing assessment of Qiao Shi's actions, describing the case as a blatant example of somebody unlawfully using the Internet to pirate goods and to "cash in" on Hesco's international reputation. The decision included an order for the transfer of the domain names to Hesco.
Michael Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of Hesco Bastion Limited, commented:
"We are proud of Hesco's brand and reputation and our position as innovative market leaders. We take any infringement of our intellectual property very seriously and have a history of successful action against perpetrators, as the result against Qiao Shi shows. We will continue rigorously to enforce our intellectual property rights against anyone seeking unlawfully to "cash in" (to use Sir Ian Barker's phrase) on the reputation we have successfully built up over the years."
Tim Bamford of London solicitors, Collyer Bristow, who filed the complaint on behalf of Hesco commented:
"Trading on the Internet is a truly international activity and the ability to resolve unlawful use of IP rights quickly and accessibly through bodies such as WIPO will become increasingly important. This is particularly the case where the subject of the complaint is based in traditionally 'difficult' jurisdictions in which to pursue conventional litigation to curb IP misuse. We were pleased that Hesco was so effectively able to shut down such blatant acts of infringement through the WIPO complaint procedure."