In the recent domain name dispute decision of Greatwater, Inc. v. Greatwater Custom Label (2004) Inc FA1287920 (Nat. Arb. Forum November 25, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domains www.greatwater.com and www.nationwidesprings.com. Complainant is the supplier of private label bottled water. Complainant originally registered the greatwater.com domain and its parent company purchased the nationwidesprings.com domain. Complainant’s company was sold to a third party company, who in turn sold it to a fourth company. That fourth company supposed then sold it to a fifth company, but started their own new bottled water business (Respondent) in competition with Complainant. That competition included Respondent maintaining control of and using the two disputed domains. Respondent argues that Complainant has failed to show it has any trademark rights, and challenges that Complainant has not established secondary meaning.
Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred: (1) the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; (2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and (3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
In addressing the first element, the Panel found that Complainant failed to establish common law rights through secondary meaning of either domain name. Although the Complainant failed to prove the first element the Panel chose to review all of the elements.
Moving to the second element, the Panel found that Complainant failed to present a prima facie case in support of its arguments.
Respondent presents evidence and argues that it has used the disputed domain names in connection with its business selling bottled water since its incorporation in 2004. The Panel finds that Respondent has made demonstrable use the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i)….Respondent argues that Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain names since its incorporation in 2004 for the business of selling bottled water. The Panel finds that Respondent has rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain names due to it being commonly known by the disputed domain names pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii).
The Panel moved to the final element, bad faith, noting that Complainant did not present sufficient evidence. The Panel concluded that since Respondent had rights or legitimate interests in the domains, they had also not registered the domains in bad faith.
Ultimately, the Panel DENIED Complainant’s request to transfer the domains.