February 29, 2000
12:17 AM   Subscribe

The VW vs. Virtual Works case is a lot like the eToys vs. ETOY battle. The vw.net site is owned by a small ISP that has been using it for the last few years, but VW is saying that their brand is diluted and their trademarks infringed when another company uses the initials "vw". Like the eToys case, it looks like Volkswagon has convinced a court of this and will be taking the domain soon. If you remember the different top level domains, .org is for non-profits and organizations, .com is for commercial ventures and corporations, and .net is for network companies and network providers. One would think an ISP qualifies for a .net, and that VW should be perfectly happy with their .com domain, or am I missing something here?
posted by mathowie (8 comments total)
Typical for a large company like VW to lash out at a company that is'nt actively competing with Volkswagen.

"A .net domain was Originally intended for use by Network Information Centers (NICs), Network Operations Centers (NOCs), administrative computers (such as a name server) and network node computers."
(Picked that up here)
posted by frog at 1:11 AM on February 29, 2000

"Virtual Works...violated federal cybersquatting laws when it tried to sell the Internet name to the Wolfburg, Germany-based automaker."

If they were using it fot legit reasons, instead of a get rich quick attempt, I'd be a little more concerned.

(Not that there's anythng wrong with getrich quick attempts.)

posted by Mick at 9:28 AM on February 29, 2000

In the beginning, there were three distinct top level domains. Then Network Solutions said, Let there be more money for us and thusly spake:

"Anyone may register Web Addresses in .COM, .NET, and .ORG. In fact, the best way to protect the uniqueness of your online identity and brands is to register or reserve Web Addresses in all of the top-level domains."

So while the originally intended designations for .net, .com, and .org might have once been a valid argument for Virtual Works' case, I don't think that will fly now. Every one who knows some one who is not a network provider or a network company but who owns a .net raise your hand. Now all you non-non-profit organizations with .org domains... right.

I didn't see it mentioned who had the vw.whatever domain first. I think that is key here in figuring out who is trying to get over on whom.

Not that I'm supporting those giant evil Volkswagon bastards, mind you. As a matter of fact, I think I'll boycott them by not paying a single car payment until they stop this madness.
posted by jennyb at 10:23 AM on February 29, 2000

Shouldn't Volkswagen be using vw.de, anyway?
posted by holgate at 4:01 PM on February 29, 2000

If I was looking for the volkswagen website, I wouldn't be like, "Oh, well I'll check vw.net" That would be stupid. Everyone always looks for the .com websites first. Most wouldn't ever even THINK of checking the .net address, and Virtual Works is not hurting VW at all.
posted by premiumpolar at 6:06 PM on February 29, 2000

holgate, VW also has a US branch or whatnot, so I guess vw.com is justified.

I thought that top-level domain names had to be at least 3 characters?
posted by hobbes at 6:36 PM on February 29, 2000

it only has to be at least two, i believe.
posted by bluishorange at 6:45 AM on March 1, 2000

first, every country has a two-letter top-level domain based on the ISO designations (listed here: http://www.bcpl.net/~jspath/isocodes.html) - this domain is administered by the national governments as they see fit, not by internic/NSI.

second,the "scarcity" of names is artificial - like so many scarcities in a world ruled by commodity cartels and greed. There is no reason that we can't have an unlimited number of new top-level domains: .art, .fun, .sex, .whatever. No reason, that is, expect for the "dilution" of "intellectual property."

Let's call a scam a scam, folks. The highest law of our society is to protect the "hypnotic focus of the deceived gaze", the symbol-language of domination and ownership, from "dilution" by any pernicious democratizing influences.

the internet is a virtual space - there is no shortage of it. Perhaps the real worry is that we might begin to notice that many other "scarce" resources are, or could be, equally abundant. Bad for business...
posted by dinsdale at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2000

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