Working together with JACCS
, MMPC, and BDOLF, Sojitz will endeavour to make it easier for customers to purchase Mitsubishi brand vehicles, help to distinguish MMPC from competitors, and provide financing options to a greater number of customers by developing financing options which customers will find attractive and streamlining the credit approval processing.
In this case, the plaintiff claims that the defendant's use of the term JACCS both as part of its domain name and as a business appellation within its web page constitutes a violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act (Articles 2-1-1 and 2-1-2) and, as such, prays that the defendant be enjoined from use of the domain name and that the defendant be ordered to cease use of the term JACCS as an business appellation within its web page.
Subsequently, the defendant amended the web page so that JACCS was spelled out in katakana [in an apparent attempt to avoid confusion with the "jacks" pronunciation adopted by the plaintiff.
Also, prior to the commencement of this litigation, the defendant used the JACCS portion of the Domain Name on its web page to advertise its goods--such as cellular telephones and cheap toilets, and even now uses it in the links connected to its web page to advertise shoes, etc.
From this time on, the plaintiff has made continuous use of JACCS in advertisements in newspapers, pamphlets, TV commercials, and on employees' business cards.
Of course, the primary significance of the JACCS Case is the fact that it is the first cybersquatting case that has made it through the Japanese court system.
In the JACCS Case, the plaintiff was able to make this showing.
Lost in the shuffle about whether JACCS is famous enough to warrant this treatment is the much more basic issue of whether the defendant's use of the plaintiffs trademark constituted use of something contemplated by the statute.
The court resolves this issue, as it must, in favor of JACCS; however, more significant than merely being the first cybersquatting case or the finding that JACCS is now famous, the court also finds that the mere use of a trademark in a domain name to be "use of an appellation of source.
If this case is not overruled, it may be a significant expansion of trademark and unfair competition law, not because of its holding regarding the fame of JACCS, but rather because of its recognition of a domain name as an appellation of source.