I am saddened by the fact that I am posting this message, but I feel that it is my duty to update the community about what has been going on in the background.
For the first time since the development of AirwaySim begun in late winter 2006 the AirwaySim’s parent company managing the business activities, AviaDesign
(Finland), was drawn to battle involving lawyers. The complaints against us were initiated by Frank Zimmermann
of Efzed Pty Ltd. & Simulate Pty Ltd.
from Australia. Also known as the author of the old PC game called “Airline
” (among some other more meaningless projects).
Some of you may have already seen the news about this case, if you follow news sites covering internet and domain name news. The full case description can be found from WIPO’s (*world intellectual property organization
) website and it has been just recently published (direct link)
Zimmermann, through his group of attorneys, lodged an incomprehensible complaint to WIPO against us over a domain name “airlineonline.com
” which AviaDesign has owned for over 3 years now, and used for marketing purposes due to its descriptive keyword value.
The complaint claims that their companies own a trademark similar to this domain, that AviaDesign does not have any rights or legitimate interests to this domain and that the domain has been registered and used in bad faith. (the complainant has never owned the domain in question, and has only recently proceeded to register more domains of the same name with other gTLDs)
They also made other delusional comments like claiming a review of their software written by me in May 2005 to (at the time) a leading flight simulation website “Flight Simulator Nordic
” was made only because I wanted to access their software for the purpose of copying it. I personally cannot imagine how estranged from reality a person has to be to think that one product review to a site which had dozens or hundreds of other published reviews could somehow be seen as an attempt to “spy” their software. Especially when combined to the fact that the initial AirwaySim development started as late as 1.5 years after the review, and AirwaySim is technically and feature-wise a completely different product and they only share the general theme of airline simulation.
The complainant made a malicious attempt to label us as domain name hijackers and cybersquatters by for example claiming that we would have no legitimate interest to domain names like “aviadesign.fi
” or “airwaysim.org
”, among other completely strange claims (their complaint was 19 pages long, added with 18 different annexes, containing a wide array of false facts and frivolous arguments).
It has been in the matter of fact Frank Zimmermann of Efzed Pty Ltd. / Simulate Pty Ltd. himself who has been found guilty of such abusive domain name registrations. During this process we found out that Zimmermann has registered at least 13 different domain names that are word-to-word our product name (AirwaySim), or an obvious variation of it, and domain names that are literally my personal name (Sami Puro). Such domains were for example "airwaysim.info
" and "samipuro.org
" (and many others). Such despicable action has been obviously done in no other attempt than to harass me and our company, and I find it personally extremely disgraceful that he has sunk to a personal level with this vendetta (I cannot reason myself why he has even started?). During this process, after it became obvious to Zimmermann that we know of these abusive domain registrations, he has even attempted (in an obvious panic reaction) to mask his ownership of the domains by transferring them to a third party (another person living very close to him and who is in business association with him). Luckily we have collected the necessary evidence of these actions, and we have started the necessary actions to protect our product name “AirwaySim” from such abuse.
The outcome of all this, completely unnecessary, struggle has been very positive to our company. The complainant Frank Zimmermann of Efzed Pty Ltd. / Simulate Pty Ltd. has been found guilty of “Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
and all their claims and complaints were dismissed
by WIPO’s Panel. This decision means that the complainant has been found to be abusing the UDRP (*uniform domain resolution policy
) system and that the complaint was brought in bad faith which constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding (which in turn entitles us to seek compensation of damages and legal fees if we'd decide to do so).
The panel found that while the complainant owns an Australian trademark with similar words to the domain in question, the mark is relatively weak in this context and that we were unaware of any such trademarks since the complainants have effectively ceased to use the mark before our rightful registration of the domain. The panel concluded for example that the complainant “omitted facts and presented selective evidence
” and “complainants come to this proceeding with unclean hands
” (showing the Panel’s displeasure to the abuse of the policy).
The panel decided that AviaDesign and AirwaySim have rightfully registered and used
the domain with legitimate interests ("...registered the Domain Name for the innocuous purpose of attracting Internet visitors through the descriptive use of words ...
" and "...Respondent registered the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services...
I am personally happy about the Panel’s correct decision, and it will hopefully reduce such abuse of the UDRP procedure.
However I find it unfortunate that some parties wish to start dealing directly through legal councils (we have had no communication with them over this or any other issue), and that their method of operation seems to be using bully tactics and engaging in a personal vendetta (as how else one would explain for example Zimmermann’s registration of the domains “samipuro.org” and “airwaysim.info” (among many others) before this complaint was lodged, and after this action became evident the effort to mask his ownership of the domains).
This ruling has naturally no impacts to any of our users or our operations. The Panel's decision shows that AviaDesign and AirwaySim operate ethically and respectfully, while some other companies do not seem to do so. AirwaySim will continue to put its best efforts towards marketing in the future too, and naturally will continue to develop the online airline simulation product with new and improved features. Hopefully in the future any possible differences can be resolved like intelligent human beings – without such completely unnecessary legal proceedings.
(This thread is only made to inform you of the proceedings, and I do not wish to start a discussion over this matter, therefore the thread is locked. If you have questions or comments please send a private message to me.)