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Archive for November, 2009

Competitors Fight Over Bottled Water

Monday, November 30th, 2009

greatwater_logo

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.

Life Extension Foundation Wins Its Domain

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Life Extension Foundation, Inc. v. PHD Prime Health Direct Limited (FA1289603, Nat. Arb. Forum, November 25, 2009) a three member Panel agreed to transfer the domain www.lifeextensionfoundation.com to Complainant. Life Extension Foundation maintains web sites at www.lef.org and www.lifeextension.com. As their web site states:

The Life Extension Foundation is the world’s largest organization dedicated to finding scientific methods for addressing disease, aging, and death. The Life Extension Foundation is a non-profit group that funds pioneering scientific research aimed at achieving an indefinitely extended healthy human lifespan. The fruits of this research are used to develop novel disease prevention and treatment protocols.

 Our law firm represented Life Extension Foundation in this dispute, so we will refrain from providing our normal commentary. If you would like to know more details please read the decision (here).

SAP Shuts Down Job Posting Site

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

         SAP-Logo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of SAP AG v. Harrison Barnes (WIPO D2009-1298, November 18, 2009), a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.sapcrossing.com. Complainant, SAP, is a global provider of business software and maintains a web site at www.sap.com. SAP claims to own over 600 domains with the SAP mark incorporated therein. Respondent, claims to run a job posting web site with industry specific jobs for each site. Respondent claims to have over 140 web sites with each being industry specific and adding the suffix “crossing” at the end of the domain. It appears as though Respondent’s main web site is www.employmentcrossing.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in October 2007.

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 noted that SAP proved it was the owner of trademark rights in SAP and was a recognizable source of IT related services throughout the world. The Panel concluded that the use of a well known trademark, namely SAP, with the descriptive term “crossing” was confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.

Moving to the second element, Respondent argued that he was offering bona fide services to job seekers. The Panel explained:

There is no doubt that Respondent is entitled to use its “EmploymentCrossing” domain name to attract potential employers or employees interested in SAP software. It may also be legitimate to refer to the company SAP in the course of communications between interested parties. In the Panel’s view it is however a different matter to use the SAP trademark in the Domain Name itself, particularly in the dominant first part of the Domain Name and in doing so to acknowledge that such reference is to the company SAP. That is, to use the SAP trademark as an indication of product or service origin, in circumstances in which it is acknowledged that Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant in any way and has not been authorized by Complainant to use the SAP trademark.

The Panel concluded that SAP proved the second element. Moving to the final element, bad faith, the Panel rejected Respondents arguments that job seekers looking for jobs that require SAP proficiency merit its use of the term in the domain name. For these reasons, the Panel found that Respondent registered the domain in bad faith.

Ultimately, the Panel found that SAP proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

Panel Denies Claim For 3 Letter Domain, Finds Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Bin Shabib & Associates (BSA) LLP v. Hebei IT Shanghai ltd c/o Domain Administrator FA1287164 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 19, 2009), a three member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.bsa.com. Complainant is a law firm which operates in the United Arab Emirates and maintains a website at www.bsa.ae. Complainant claims rights to the BSA mark since based on two different dates, 2001 and 2007. Complainant filed for a trademark in the UAE, but has not yet received a registration. Respondent provided a Response, including an additional submission. The Panel noted that the Response was deficient for not being timely, but concluded to review the materials regardless.

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 explained:

The Panel finds that Complainant has failed to establish registered trademark rights or common law rights in the BSA mark. Specifically, Complainant’s use of the BSA mark for less than two years has been too short, and Complainant has not shown any evidence of the sort that is usually used to establish that a mark has acquired secondary meaning. In light of Respondent’s arguments, the Panel finds that Complainant has failed to establish common law rights in the BSA mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)….Having found that Complainant has not satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) because it has failed to establish rights in the mark, the Panel declines to analyze the other two elements of the Policy.

The Panel was not finished though, since it then addressed the issue of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

The panel finds that Complainant has failed to present any evidence to support its claimed rights in the disputed domain name. It only provided an application for trademark registration which does not establish any enforceable rights under the UDRP. It did not offer any evidence to support a finding of common law rights in the disputed mark. Also, the Panel finds that Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name or that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Based on the foregoing, the panel finds that reverse domain name hijacking has occurred.

In light of the following, the Panel DENIED Complainant’s request to transfer the domain. and made a finding of reverse domain name hijacking.

OFFICE DEPOT Takes Care Of Business With Cybersquatter, Nine Years Later

Friday, November 20th, 2009

office_depot_logo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of The Office Club, Inc. and Office Depot, Inc. v. Name Holding Company c/o Name Holding FA1287148 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 16, 2009), a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.officedpot.com. Complainant, Office Depot is the well known office products retailer and has used the OFFICE DEPOT mark since 1986. Office Depot maintains a website at www.officedepot.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in May 2000 and failed to respond to this dispute.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy requires that 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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and (2) 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 noted that Complainant established rights in the OFFICE DEPOT mark. The Panel explained that the disputed domain differed from the mark only in that there was no space and the domain had removed the second letter “e” from the word. The Panel found this to be too close and thus confusingly similar to the OFFICE DEPOT mark.

Moving to the second element, the Panel noted that Office Depot presented a prima facie case, b ut still reviewed the record in consideration of the elements. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, the disputed domain resolved to a web site where links to competitors were presented. This was considered to not be a bona fide offering of services. As a result, the Panel found Office Depot satisfied the second element.

The Panel analyzed the last element, bad faith, the Panel found that Respondent’s web site was disrupting Office Depot’s business by its competitive activity. Additionally, since Respondent was presumably commercially benefitting from the competing products and services, this was an intentional creation of likelihood of confusion.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Office Depot proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

APPLE Waited Four Years, But Now Owns IPOD NANO

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

     ipodnano

In the recent domain name dispute decision of APPLE INC. v. Fusion Media Ltd. FA1288071, (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 18, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.ipodnano.com. Apple needs no introduction, nor should an explanation of the iPod be needed. If you are so curious and have been living under a rock though, please go to www.ipod.com or www.apple.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in September 2005 and failed to respond to the dispute.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy requires that 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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and (2) 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.

The Panel examined the first element of the Policy, noting that Apple had sufficient rights and trademark registrations for the IPOD mark. It found that the addition of the word “nano” created a confusing similarity to Apple’s IPOD mark since it has an obvious relationship to the products sold. The Panel found that Apple satisfied this element.

Moving to the second element, the Panel explained that Apple presented a prima facie case, but decided to review the record anyway. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, the Panel explained:

Complainant argues that Respondent’s <ipodnano.com> domain name resolves to a website soliciting Internet user’s personal information, presumably for marketing leads, by offering a “giveaway” of ipod nanos.  The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to Respondent’s website soliciting personal information by promising a “giveaway” of ipod nanos, presumably for financial gain, does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).

As a result, the Panel found that Apple satisfied the second element. The Panel, in addressing the last element, bad faith, explained that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain intentionally caused a likelihood of confusion. Additionally, Respondent commercially benefitted by gaining marketting leads through the web site. For these reasons, the Panel found this third element was satisfied.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Apple proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

MARY KAY Enriches It’s Domain Portfolio

Monday, November 16th, 2009

        marykay

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Mary Kay Inc. v. Open Water Enterprises Limited c/o Louis S FA1286701 (Nat. Arb Forum, November 12, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.mayrkay.com. Complainant Mary Kay is the well known manufacturer and distributor of body care and cosmetic products, with rights dating back to 1963. Complainant owns the mark MARY KAY and operates a web site at www.marykay.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in 2003 and failed to respond to the Complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that 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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and (2) 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 recognized the trademark registrations for the MARY KAY mark and found that Complainant’s rights were established under Policy paragraph 4(a)(I). The Panel found that the disputed domain was a misspelled version of Complainant’s mark MARY KAY, with the r and y letters transposed. For this reason, the Panel found that MARY KAY satisfied the first element.

In addressing the second element, whether Respondent had any rights or legitimate interests in the domain, the Panel explained:

The relevant WHOIS information identifies the registrant of the disputed domain name as “Open Water Enterprises Limited c/o Louis S,” and there is no evidence in the record to suggest that Respondent is otherwise commonly known by the <mayrkay.com> domain name.  Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii)….Respondent’s <mayrkay.com> domain name resolves to a website featuring click-through links and advertisements for Complainant’s competitors in the body care and cosmetics industry.  The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to Complainant’s competitors, presumably for financial gain, does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii)….Respondent’s <mayrkay.com> domain name qualifies as typosquatting, given the transposition of two letters in the MARY KAY mark.  As such, Respondent’s attempt to capitalize on the typographical errors of Internet users constitutes evidence that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).

Moving to the final element, bad faith, the Panel explained that Respondent had been involved in other prior UDRP proceedings and a pattern of bad faith registration has been established. Additionally, since the web site resolved to promote MARY KAY competitors via click-through links, it disrupted Complainant’s business. Further evidence of bad faith was from click through fees presumably generated from these links. Lastly, the Panel found that Respondent engaged in typosquatting.

For all these reasons, the Panel ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

FREECREDITREPORT.COM Wins 1,017 Domains!

Friday, November 13th, 2009

    FreeCreditReport

This domain dispute just needed to be discussed based purely on the number of domains at issue. In the recent domain name dispute decision of ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. v. Netcorp Netcorp c/o Netcorp FA1283469 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 11, 2009), a single member arbitrator was faced with a dispute over 1,017 domains. The arbitrator, James Carmody has been involved with the UDRP for a long time and has decided more disputes then most, but he certainly earned his money sorting through all of these domains in this case. Complainant is the owner of the mark FREECREDITREPORT.COM. We know you have all seen the commercials so we won’t discuss belabor on the background. Suffice it to say they maintain a web site at www.freecreditreport.com. The disputed domains at issue were all registered after Complainant filed its trademark application, but before the mark was registered. Due to the large number of domains at issue we will not reproduce them, but see the decision if you are dying to know.

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.

The Panel explained that the application and subsequent registration of the mark established Complainant’s rights dating back to the application date. The Panel found that Complainant established its common law rights sufficiently to merit protection and moved towards comparing the mark with the disputed domains. The Panel listed 15 separate ways in which the domains were similar to the mark:

(1) adding “ing,” changing the tense of the mark to a present participle; (2) adding the letter “s,” changing the mark from singular to plural; (3) adding a generic or descriptive word to the mark; (4) adding a generic or descriptive word to the mark that has an obvious association with Complainant’s business; (5) adding an abbreviation of a geographic word to the mark; (6) adding a geographic word to the mark; (7) misspelling the mark by changing a letter in the mark to a different letter; (8) misspelling the mark by changing a letter in the mark to a number; (9) misspelling the mark by adding a letter within the mark; (10) adding a letter to the beginning or end of the mark; (11) misspelling the mark by adding a number within the mark; (12) adding a number to the beginning or end of the mark; (13) omitting the period between the first-level domain, “www,” and the mark; (14) changing the generic top-level domain (gTLD) included in the mark from “.com” to “.org;” and/or (15) adding hyphens to the mark.  Any individual disputed domain name typically contains Complainant’s mark and one of these changes.  A few contain a combination of two of these changes.  The Panel finds that none of these differences between the mark and the disputed domain names create distinctiveness and that, therefore, the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s FREECREDITREPORT.COM mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). 

As a result the Panel found that Complainant satisfied the first element. Moving to the second element the Panel noted that Respondent was not commonly known by any of the domains in dispute. Addiitonally, the Panel found that the disputed domains resolved to web sites with links to third party web sites and that this use was not in connection with a bona fide offering. In addressing the argument by Respondent that the disputed domains are comprised of generic words in common usage, the Complainant questioned why the majority of the domains were misspellings of the mark. The Panel found that Respondent was typosquatting. As a result, the Panel found that Complainant satisfied the second element.

Moving to the final element, the Panel found that all of the disputed domains contained variations of the mark, which was evidence of bad faith registration and use. Additionally, since the domains offered links which disrupted Complainant’s business, this was further evidence. Lastly, since Respondent engaged in typosquatting, this was more evidence of bad faith.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Complainant satisfied all the elements and ordered that all the domains be TRANSFERRED.

RED ENVELOPE Buys Itself A Gift..A New Typosquatted Domain

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

    redenvelope

In the recent domain name dispute of Provide Gifts, Inc. d/b/a RedEnvelope v. Privacy Ltd. Disclosed Agent for YOLAPT c/o Domain Admin FA1286921 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 9, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.redenevelope.com. Complainant is the well known online gift retailer who maintains a web site at www.redenvelope.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in August 2000 and failed to reply to the Complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that 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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and (2) 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 noted that Complainant had rights to the RED ENVELOPE mark through various trademark registrations. The Panel found that the disputed domain contained a misspelled version of Complainant’s RED ENVELOPE mark which was confusingly similar. The Panel found that Complainant satisfied Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
 
Moving to the second element, the Panel found that Red Envelope presented a prima facie case and that Respondent failed to submit a response. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain, was using the domain to display links advertising third-party web sites in competition with Red Envelope, and engaged in typosquatting. All these factors culminated to a conclusion that Respondent lacked any rights or legitimate interests in the domain. The Panel found Red Envelope satisfied Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).

In reviewing the third element, bad faith, the Panel began by explaining:

…Respondent intended to disrupt Complainant’s business and take advantage of Complainant’s goodwill surrounding its mark by displaying third-party links to Complainant’s competitors in the online retail industry for upscale gifts.  The Panel therefore finds that Respondent engaged in bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). 

The Panel also relied on another bad faith factor and explained:

Additionally, Respondent has created a substantial likelihood of confusion as to the source and affiliation of the <redenevelope.com> domain name and the corresponding website.  Respondent benefits from such a likelihood of confusion, as it receives referral fees for the competitive upscale gifts advertisements that are displayed to the diverted Internet users.  The Panel finds this to be adequate evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). 

The Panel didn’t stop there noting that the typosquating also qualified for proof of bad faith under Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).

Ultimately, the Panel found that Red Envelope satisfied all elements of the ICANN UDRP Policy  and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

NETFLIX Snags Typosquatted Domain

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

       netflix-logo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Netflix Inc. v. Domain Name (FA1287000, Nat. Arb. Forum November 9, 2009), a single member arbitrator was faced with a dispute over the domain www.netfilx.com. Netflix is the well known online movie rental service and owns multiple registrations for the NETFLIX mark. Netflix operates a web site at www.netflix.com.  The disputed domain was registered on September 27, 1999 and Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that 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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and (2) 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 Netflix had established its rights in the mark NETFLIX through its trademark registrations. The Panel noted that the domain was a misspelled version of the NETFLIX mark, where the “i” and “l” were switched. The Panel found that the domain was confusingly similar and that Netflix had satisfied this element.

Moving to the second element the Panel explained that Netflix made a prima facie case in support of its allegations. The Panel chose to analyze the facts presented despite Respondent’s failure to provide a response.

The Panel finds that registrant’s WHOIS information demonstrates that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.  Therefore, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii), Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name….Respondent’s <netfilx.com> domain name resolves to a blank website.  The Panel finds that Respondent’s failure to make an active use of the disputed domain name is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). 

Interestingly, the Panel notes that Netflix failed to allege abuse through the misspelling, but the Panel still found this to be relevant in the overall decision. The Panel found that Netflix satisfied this element as well.

Moving to the final element, the Panel found that the disputed domain remained inactive, and that such inactivity was evidence of bad faith. Additionally, the Panel found that the typosquatted version of Complainant’s mark NETFLIX also constituted bad faith. Ultimately, the Panel found that Netflix proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

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