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CHICAGO (CBS) — A volunteer-operated news publication by the Occupy Chicago movement that references the Chicago Tribune in its name will not have to hand over its domain name to the newspaper.
An administrative panel at the World Intellectual Property Organization ruled Thursday that the Occupied Chicago Tribune could retain its Web domain name, according to a news release from the People’s Law Office.
The Chicago Tribune had filed a complaint with the Geneva, Switzerland-based United Nations Agency after Occupy Chicago began publishing the “Occupied Chicago Tribune,” a print and online news publication that bills itself as “media for the 99 percent” and says it is “proud to have no affiliation whatsoever with the 1 percent Chicago Tribune or the Tribune Co.”
In an editorial back in March, the Occupied Chicago Tribune wrote that it has “contended with threats of litigation from the Tribune Company” since its first issue was released in December.
The Chicago Reader’s Michael Miner reported last month that the Occupied Chicago Tribune first received a polite request from a Tribune attorney that the paper change its name. In response, the occupy paper eliminated the Tribune-style Gothic typeset in its name and added the disclaimer about not being affiliated with the Tribune, the Reader wrote.
The Tribune later filed the intellectual property complaint, and called for the occupy publication to surrender its two Web domains, Miner reported.
But the WIPO disagreed with the Tribune’s contention that the Occupied Chicago Tribune domain name was so similar to that of the Tribune itself that it could cause market confusion.
“Given the circumstances of this case and in particular the heavy and nearly universal coverage of the Occupy Movement within the national and local media, the Panel holds that the Occupy Movement is so well known within the relevant area (both parties being from Chicago, Illinois, in the United States) that the Domain Names are not confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark,” the WIPO panel said in its ruling.
The law office characterized the Tribune’s move against the Occupy publication as an attempt by “the 1 percent” to suppress the Occupy movement.
In an editorial on the ruling Thursday, the Occupied Chicago Tribune’s editors wrote that they “hope (the ruling) will have important implications for the rights of other Occupy publications across the country.”