• Kyodo

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The World Intellectual Property Organization has ruled in favor of Sanrio Co. in a case involving the unauthorized use of a cartoon character’s name for a Web site domain name, according to a WIPO official.

The ruling, made on April 20 by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, ordered the user of pochacco.com to transfer its right to the domain name to Sanrio, a leading Japanese toy maker, the official said.

In its decision, the center ruled that the domain name pochacco.com is identical to Sanrio’s registered mark Pochacco. “The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith,” the ruling said, without identifying the user of the domain name.

The ruling is the first of its kind involving a Japanese corporation since WIPO set up the dispute-settlement center in 1999, the official said.

Sanrio owns U.S. trademark and service mark registrations for the mark Pochacco, which it has used on or in connection with a wide range of products and services, including a retail store that features stationery, greeting cards, jewelry, playing cards and other assorted merchandise.

Sanrio and its subsidiary, Sanrio Inc., filed their complaint over the case on March 14.

In a separate case, the dispute-settlement center has also issued a ruling in favor of Sanrio over the unauthorized use of the corporate name Sanrio in Web sites, the official said.

Another Japanese company, based in Osaka, has also won a ruling over the use of its corporate name for a domain name.

WIPO is a Geneva-based international organization responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.