In June 1996 a group of WWW enthusiasts opened a website under the name "Ouders Online" (Parents Online) with information for parents. They used the format of a monthly "magazine" with several recurring topics, such as hints for parents, news, tests of baby car seats as well as advice on educational issues from other parents. The site was accessible through http://www.ouders.nl.
In September 1996 VNU, one of the largest publishing companies in the Netherlands, brought proceedings against the small company operating the Ouders Online site enjoining it to stop using both the name Ouders Online and the domainname "ouders.nl" as this would infringe VNU's rights in the magazine's title and trademark Ouders van Nu ("parents of today"). That magazine has been circulated in the Netherlands for almost 30 years and has a wide readership. In her decision of 20 September 1996, the President of the Amsterdam District Court rejected the demands of VNU. In short, she held that there was no danger of association between Ouders Online on the one hand and Ouders van Nu on the other, in spite of the fact that the trademark Ouders van Nu through the wide circulation of the magazine and its long existence might have acquired secondary meaning. In addition, the President ruled that the use of the domainname did not infringe VNU's rights. Interestingly, the President decided that use of the domainname "ouders.nl" for access to an electronic magazine constituted use as a trademark for that electronic magazine.
For further information contact Wolter Wefers Bettink at Houthoff, telephone No. +31 (0)20-5772367. You may also send a fax to +31 (0)20-5772703 or e-mail to email@example.com. - or enter text search 'Houthoff Advocaten & Notarissen' and 'Business Monitor'.