For immediate release
December 4, 2009
(604) 291-8211 x805
Vancouver, BC – In a decision issued on December 2, the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center ("WIPO") rejected a complaint filed by Coast Hotels & Resorts against UNITE HERE, the union that represents hospitality workers throughout North America, including workers at 11 Coast Hotels in Western Canada and the United States.
Coast Hotels filed a complaint in September against UNITE HERE targeting the union’s web site www.CoastHotels-BadforBC.info. Coast argued that WIPO, the Geneva-based organization responsible for regulating the use of domain names, should seize the domain name of the union’s informational site and transfer it to Coast Hotels. Coast alleged that the site infringed on its corporate trademarks and alleged the site was created in a bad faith attempt to disrupt its business.
UNITE HERE created the site to educate customers and other prospective travelers to British Columbia about working conditions at Coast Hotels & Resorts.
The complaint was assigned to an arbitration panel that decided the case on written submissions from Coast Hotels and the Union. The panel reaffirmed the fair use rights of UNITE HERE to use the domain name www.CoastHotels-BadforBC.info for legitimate, non-commercial criticism of Coast Hotels. The panel also found that UNITE HERE did not register or use its domain names in bad faith, as Coast Hotels had alleged.
For a copy of the panel’s decision, go to: www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2009/d2009-1295.html
UNITE HERE represents workers in the hotel, gaming, food service, apparel and textile industries throughout Canada and the United States. UNITE HERE Local 40 represents thousands of hotel, stadium and food service workers in British Columbia, Canada, including workers at Coast Hotels in British Columbia.