In the light of this major project that should create numerous opportunities, a few details need to be outlined.
The Pioneer program launched by the city of Paris involves preselecting a hundred projects from those that have made a bid, with a focus on projects that would enhance the visibility of .PARIS from the outset. Two types of project are being encouraged in order to promote companies or associations linked to Paris.
The first type relates to concessions on generic names under .PARIS, for example boulangerie.paris or hotel.paris. In such cases, the city of Paris will be remunerated based on a share of project incomes.
The second type will promote the activities of firms and associations linked to Paris. In the context of these bids, the subscription costs will depend on the Pioneer category under which the company wishes to register its project:
- In the category of “ambassador” Pioneers, subscription costs could be as much as €100,000. These Pioneers will be strongly featured in the promotional communication campaign surrounding the .PARIS project.
- In the category of “business” Pioneers, the budget required will amount to a few thousand euros. These pioneers will also be included in the communication campaign but to a lesser extent.
- In the “ecosystem” category, start-ups and charities will benefit in particular from nominal subscription costs of around one hundred euros.
- In the “individual” category, the costs will only be tens of euros in order to let the ordinary citizens of Paris have their say.
In this Pioneer program, guarantees will be given in order to ensure that intellectual property rights are respected: the city of Paris will be installing a system of risk detection before any projects are selected! The intention is that each of the preselected projects (between 100-200) will be analyzed to ensure that there is no conflict with previously registered trademarks.
To achieve this, databases will be consulted (INPI, OHIM, WIPO) and there will be interaction with trademarks registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse. Once these checks are completed, a project could be rejected if there is a significant risk of conflict with recognized marks.
Once a project has been validated, a specific opposition procedure will be open to rights holders. Certain conditions will have to be met in order to use this procedure, which may be subject to further amendments:
- To be the holder of a verbal trademark registered before the month of July 2011, legally recognized in France and known in the public sector (nb: There will certainly be a degree of flexibility as to the trademark registration date. The aim here is to ensure that the mark had not been registered for the sole purpose of opposing projects and to avoid fraud. It remains to be seen how the question of public sector awareness will be defined.)
- The domain name Pioneer must be identical or confusingly similar to the trademark of the opposing rights holder.
- The Pioneer must not have a legitimate interest in the Pioneer domain name.
- The Pioneer domain name must have been solicited in bad faith, with the specific aim of interrupting the commercial operations of a third party, by preventing the name from being re-used or in order to draw away a third party’s customers.
This procedure is to be directly handled internally by the registrar of .PARIS and will only entail relatively limited costs.
Our office can advise you on the best strategy to adopt and will be happy to provide you with any additional information that you may require.