Internet domains, case I C 2179/09

April 26th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 2 March 2010, the District Court in Białystok I Civil Division issued in absentia judgment case file I C 2179/09, in which it ordered the defendant, a natural person known as “domain name investor” to discontinue the use of domain name. The court ordered the defendant to publish a full-page paid ad in a weekly magazine, and two ads in two nationwide newspapers (Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita), with an apology defined by the Court. The court also ordered the defendant to pay the amount of 25000 PLN as compensation for infringement of personal rights of Tygodnik Powszechny sp. z o.o. company, and the amount of 15000 PLN as damages for infringement of personal rights of Father Adam Boniecki, the editor of Tygodnik Powszechny. These amounts should be transferred to Fundacji Polska Akcja Humanitarna (the Fundation Polish Humanitarian Action). The court ruled the judgment to be immediately enforceable. The judgment is final.

The court held that the use of Internet domain name may constitute a violation of personal rights taking into account the content which is visible at a website available under a given domain name. The questioned domain name was parked and directed to a website with advertising links. Such content, including texts, which were the visualization of sponsored links, constituted in Court’s opinion an infringement of personal rights.

This judgment is very important for Polish and foreign companies which became the target of cybersquatting if we consider that the Polish case law on personal interests, for instance the Appellate Court in Poznań in a judgment of 22 October 1991, case file I ACr 400/90, already established the rule that the firm under which the company conducts its business, has the same meaning in legal relations, as the name of an individual person.

See also “Polish case law on domain names“.