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26. U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Note on the Enforcement of Obligations under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (June 2002)


June 07, 2002




Origin: L



Captions: None


Ref: None

1. This is an action message. USUN is requested to send the note in para 2 to the UN Legal Counsel in response to his inquiry regarding the domain name registration for an INTERNET site.

2. begin text.

The (Mission) (Permanent Representative of) the United States to the United Nations refers to the December 28, 2001, note from the Legal Counsel of the United Nations regarding the domain name registration for an INTERNET site. In the United States' note of February XX, 2002, the United States indicated that it would explore further with relevant agencies the obligations of the United States under article 6ter of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Having now done so, the United States now provides the following additional response.

While practice on implementation of article titer appears to be limited, the commentators on the Convention suggest that Member States enjoy wide latitude in determining how to implement its requirements. The United States does not consider that Paris Union Members assumed obligations under article titer to pursue enforcement actions on behalf of third parties. In the United States, enforcement of intellectual property rights in specific cases, including in cases involving alleged infringement of rights under article 6ter, is a private matter for the party concerned. In satisfaction of its obligation under the Convention to prohibit by
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appropriate measures the use without authorization of emblems, abbreviations and names of international intergovernmental organizations communicated through the intermediary of the International Bureau, World Intellectual Property Organization, the United States has adopted laws which prohibit unauthorized use of infringing trademarks.
For example, the Trademark Act of 1946, as amended, 15 U.S.C. u 1051 et seq., offers the possibility for interested parties to challenge use of marks in commerce based on theories, inter alia, of likelihood of confusion, false association and unfair competition. These laws satisfy U.S. obligations under article 6ter by providing the opportunity for States and international intergovernmental organizations to pursue remedies for the unauthorized use of names and other insignia listed in article 6ter, including in cases involving use on the INTERNET. Responsibility for evaluating potentially infringing use of trademarks and other intellectual property, and for taking enforcement action when deemed appropriate, however, rests with the party whose interests are affected.

Moreover, the United States notes that with respect to international intergovernmental organizations, obligations under article titer arise only after receipt of a request for extension of protection through the International Bureau, in accordance with the procedures in articles 6ter(3)(b) and
(4). The United States is not aware, at this time, of a notification under article 6ter with respect to the name or abbreviation "UNIFEM." Once notified pursuant to article titer, United States authorities would refuse registration, or invalidate, conflicting trademarks consistent with the terms of that article, and would be under an obligation to prohibit by appropriate measures unauthorized use of the notified emblem, abbreviation and name. But, as noted in the preceding paragraph, the latter obligation would be met under the laws of general application that the United States has enacted, and it is the responsibility of the party claiming than an infringement has occurred to take action under U.S. law to challenge perceived unlawful use in commerce.

The United States regrets, therefore, that it is unable to provide the direct enforcement assistance requested in this matter. end text.

Additional Addressees: None

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