A quality domain name is valuable for any brand on the Internet, which is why companies are willing to spend millions to purchase a URL which they think will enhance their business.
Many South African domain names have sold for over R1 million, including property.co.za, homeloans.co.za, insurance.co.za, and jobs.co.za.
To benefit from this, some people register domain names which are closely linked to company names.
This often leads to disputes, where the domain owner and the company fight for ownership of the domain name.
This process is handled by the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL), which is accredited as a dispute resolution provider in terms of the .za Alternate Dispute Resolution Regulations.
The domain dispute process was introduced in South Africa on 1 April 2007, and SAIIPL has been accredited as a dispute resolution service provider by the Department of Communications.
The dispute procedure entitles a party to lodge a complaint against a co.za domain if it “takes unfair advantage of the rights” of that party or “is contrary to law or likely to give offence to any class of persons”.
Here are some of the prominent co.za domain name disputes which were handled by SAIIPL in recent years.
Propuk.co.za – Solidarity versus North-West University
North-West University recently filed a complaint against Solidarity, the owner of the Propuk.co.za domain. The SAIIPL ruled that Solidarity may no longer use the Propuk.co.za name.
Pnpexpress.co.za – Pick n Pay Retailers vs BP Raisethorpe Service Station
Pick n Pay Retailers filed a complaint against BP Raisethorpe Service Station, the owner of the Pnpexpress.co.za domain. The ruling is pending.
Pirellityres.co.za – Pirelli vs Rauties Tyres
Pirelli filed a complaint against Rauties Tyres, the owner of the domain name Pirellityres.co.za. The domain was transferred to Pirelli.
Tumblr.co.za – Tumblr vs Zhu Xumei
Tumblr filed a complaint against Zhu Xumei, the owner of the domain name Tumblr.co.za. The ruling is pending.
Supersportnews.co.za – Supersport vs Avaliani Sergi
Supersport filed a complaint against Avaliani Sergi, the owner of the domain name Supersportnews.co.za. The ruling is pending.
Thawte.co.za – Symantec vs Dijon Venter
Symantec filed a complaint against Dijon Venter, the owner of the domain name Thawte.co.za. The domain name was transferred to Symantec.
Fly-saa.co.za – South African Airways vs Deon Venter
South African Airways filed a complaint against Deon Venter, the owner of Fly-saa.co.za. The domain was transferred to South African Airways.
Pep.co.za – Pepkor vs Pep Application Software
Pepkor filed a complaint against Pep Application Software, the owner of Pep.co.za. The complaint was dismissed.
Hardrockcafe.co.za – Hardrock Café vs S Lennon
Hardrock Café filed a complaint against S Lennon, the owner of Hardrockcafe.co.za. The domain was transferred to Hardrock Café.
Sarstax.co.za – South African Revenue Service vs Antonie Goosen
The South African Revenue Service filed a complaint against Antonie Goosen, the owner of Sarstax.co.za. The domain was transferred to the South African Revenue Service.