ShellNews.net: A new company - Royal Dutch Shell plc is born tomorrow - but it will forever have a SECOND-HAND Internet id if Shell wins domain name battle: 16.45pm: Tuesday 19 July 2005
The World Intellectual Property Organisation has appointed a panel to rule on the complaint brought against Alfred Donovan in respect of the domain names registered and used by him: royaldutchshellplc.com; royaldutchshellgroup.com and tellshell.org.
Since Shell has never previously expressed any interest in the two latter domain names which have been operational for such a long time that they have just been renewed, it is reasonable to conclude that Shell's real interest is in the first name. It happens to be the name of the new public company - Royal Dutch Shell plc - which comes into existence tomorrow as a trading company. The latter domain names have undoubtedly been challenged by Shell in an attempt to bolster its claim to royaldutchshellplc.com
The decision by the WIPO appointed panel is expected at the end of July. The losing party then has 10 days to launch court proceedings if they do not wish to accept the panel decision.
However, if Shell does eventually win - which seems possible given its army of 650 in-house lawyers backed up by unlimited financial resources, in an unequal contest against an 88 year old war pensioner - the Royal Dutch Shell $200 billion multinational will end up forever saddled with a SECOND-HAND domain name. That history can never be changed.
As Shell probably does not intend to actually use the domain name, bearing in mind that its principle portal website is and will no doubt continue to be www.shell.com perhaps this historical/hysterical blemish will not be too damaging. However what ever happens, we will remind Shell of the history of the domain name from time to time.
LEGAL STUFF (NO NEED TO READ UNLESS YOU ARE A SHELL LAWYER, OR SOMEONE WITH A DEEP INTEREST IN SHELL, OR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OR COPYRIGHT ISSUES)
LEGAL STATEMENT BY THE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL GROUP REGARDING THIS WEBSITE: I, Alfred Donovan, would like to remind Shell lawyers that the "group" has placed on record its acknowledgement of my freedom to air my opinions about Shell on ShellNews.net. I did of course already have rights under various freedom of expression conventions and declarations but its nice to know that Shell, one of the multinational rulers of our planet, recognises this fact. The Royal Dutch Shell Group made the following unusual statement in a legal document in regards to this website: - "The... Group... have been aware of the site since the beginning and whilst they would not endorse or agree with many of the comments made by the Respondent on the website, they have taken the view that the Respondent is entitled to express his opinions and to use the Internet as a medium for doing so." This statement drafted by Shell lawyers and authorised by the "Group", amounts to tacit approval/acceptance/recognition of this website by Shell. It was submitted to The World Intellectual Property Organisation in May 2005 by Shell International Petroleum Company Limited on behalf of the Royal Dutch Shell Group in proceedings against me, Alfred Donovan, as the "Respondent" (owner) of three domain names, including www.royaldutchshellplc.com. It remains a mystery why Shell has taken an entirely different view regarding the fundamental human right to freedom of expression in respect of the former Shell geologist Dr John Huong, the well-known Shell whistle-blower, in relation to postings under his name elsewhere on this same website. Eight companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group collectively obtained a High Court Injunction to silence him. The Injunction remains in force.
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