New Zealand Government Pays $500,000 for


Shield Mark Newsletter reported that the government of New Zealand has paid well over $500,000 for the domain name The money was transferred to the company Virtual Countries, which had the name for a portal with information on New Zealand. 

The sale of the name followed a failed attempt by the government of New Zealand to confiscate the name via arbitration proceedings. A panel of arbitrators of the World Intellectual Property (WIPO) in 2002 decided that geographical names, such as names of countries, are not trade marks and that there is no general rule prescribing that a country domain name cannot be used by a commercial organization.

The outcome of this arbitration case and the following sale of the name is, of course, most encouraging for Virtual Countries. Especially when one realizes that the company has another batch of attractive country names in its portfolio, such as and
What a lucrative trade this is turning out to be, the Newsletter stated in its 9th volume No.24. 

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