|If only cyber-pest control were so simple ...|
Let us take the following hypothesis. This time it is not WIPO but its sister agency the World Health Organization (WHO) which faces a problem. An imitation website, featuring an organisation calling itself the World Health Department (WHD), can be accessed on www.whd.biz [nb at the time of posting this item, that URL was a parked domain]. A logo closely similar to that of the WHO adorns the WHD's home page; the artwork and fonts are generally similar too. There are no email, phone or fax contact details but, under "contact", an address in Prague, Czech Republic, is listed. From this website the WHD offers "WHD-approved" medicines and pharmaceutical products. Some of these products are genuine pharma products with expired "use-by" dates; others are suspected of being counterfeit or of having no curative function. The WHD also sends materials to distributors and suppliers of pharmaceutical goods and to the health ministries of a number of developing countries; while carefully worded so as not to state that they are invoices for goods purchased, they look superficially as though they are.
Reports reach the WHO that this site exists and that its sales offers and not-quite-invoices have deceived or induced a number of businesses and recipients to place orders or pay money. There are concerns that the activities of the WHD will place the health of consumers at risk, diminish the financial resources available for health in developing countries and damage the reputation of the WHO itself, since some people are convinced that the WHD is a service provided by it or under its auspices.
The WHO has written to the person named as owner of the website and has asked him to cease and desist. The individual in question has neither ceased nor desisted and, since the site earns him valuable income, he is unlikely to walk away from it without a struggle. Now the WHO comes to you and seeks advice, informing you that it does not hold any registered trade marks for its name or logo but that it is entitled to a degree of legal protection under Article 6ter of the Paris Convention on Industrial Property Rights.
Your brief is to sketch out a responsible, affordable and legal plan for taking out WHD's www.whd.biz website as swiftly and efficiently as possible, ensuring that it attracts as little traffic until this is achieved and that, as far as possible, there is no repetition of this deception by its perpetrator.
Please send your advice to the IPKat by email here, with the subject line "Rogue sites", by close of play on Sunday 6 February 2011. The best entries will be hosted on this weblog and readers will be given the chance to vote for the winner. The prize? A brand-new copy of Alexander Tsoutsanis's excellent Trade Mark Registrations in Bad Faith, just published by Oxford University Press (details here).