Trademark watch on the internet – The Vinci case

Published onNovember 2016

INSCRIPTA regularly alerts companies to the necessity of monitoring their marks in order to know when it is used or misused by competitors or other parties.

For instance, let’s remind our readers that a French trademark application or registration does not automatically bar subsequent trademark applications from being registered, even if they are identical. In fact, the French Patent and Trademark Office (INPI) performs an examination of trademark applications only with regard to absolute grounds.

That’s why it is highly recommended to perform availability searches before filing a trademark application in France. That’s also why trademark owners have to monitor their marks by themselves if they intend to defend their rights. In this regard, INSCRIPTA provides trademark watch services depending on the security level you want to reach (see here).

A recent case gives us the opportunity to insist on the importance of trademark watch over the internet, especially domain name watch services. You may have heard about it. It concerns the group VINCI.

For the detail about the case, you may refer to the official press release from VINCI (here). Let’s just say that VINCI claims it was impersonated in the form of false financial information being sent to certain media outlets. This false information had a substantial impact on VINCI’s share price.

This false information were sent by email, using email accounts made of domain names such as ‘vinci.group’ or ‘vinci-group.com’. The emails consequently appeared as coming from the group…

This scam shows how important it is to monitor domain names matching or including one’s mark. With such a watch service, you can be alerted as soon as the domain names are registered and you can take immediate action, maybe even preventive action before the domain names are fraudulently used.

Assuming that VINCI did watch domain names, maybe the group was up against a very organised network and did not have enough time to retaliate.

Anyway, being able to react and defend your mark means first and foremost being informed something is happening with it. An efficient strategy for protecting your mark cannot come without an efficient trademark watch service and a close monitoring of the internet, especially domain names.

Trademark infringement is not the only danger. Cybercrime has no limits.

© INSCRIPTA