Traverse Legal domain name dispute and website attorneys helped the website owner/registrant of the disputed domain name, va.co.za, to win a domain name dispute on appeal in a South African court. After initially suffering an adverse decision by the Adjudicator, the website owner prevailed on appeal and was able to retain possession of the disputed website. The Appeal Panel found that although a two letter generic domain name is possibly trademarkable, the complainant (owner of the device mark containing “V&A”) in this case failed to provide sufficient evidence to prevail on its trademark infringement and common law claims.
The V&A Waterfront filed the complaint with the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (“SAIIPL”). At the lower court level, a SAIIPL court Adjudicator rendered his decision in favor of V&A Waterfront on April 12, 2012. However, registrant/owner of the va.co.za website, Mr. Brandon Davids, appealed the SAIIPL Adjudicator's decision. Following Davids' appeal, on June 22, 2012 an Appeal Panel for the SAIIPL appellate court reversed the Adjudicator's decision and this time ruled in favor of Davids.
The complainant, V&A Waterfront, is the owner of the South African destination hotspot known as V&A Waterfront property, located in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. Along with being voted South Africa's number one tourist destination, V&A Waterfront boasts more than 20 million annual visitors and during the 2010 Soccer World cup alone it hosted more than 3 million visitors.