Domain names as trademarks in Austria

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By Martin Prohaska Marchried

Digital brand engagement has become more and more important in the last years in the CEE: for example, in the realms of e-books, training courses, software and domain names. In some cases, domain names can qualify for trade mark protection in the CEE.

In a recent ruling, the Austrian Supreme Patent and Trademark Senate recognised that domain names have not only an ‘address’ function but a can also have a distinctive function and thus enjoy trademark protection.

In a further ruling on Technology.AT, the Austrian Supreme Patent and Trademark Senate (contrary to the first and second instance of the Austrian PTO) considered Technology.AT to be sufficiently distinctive. Particular focus was given by the Senate to the fact that ‘Technolog’ implies no information on the nature, type or nature of the services to which it relates…

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