In the recent cybersquatting case of Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. ll aka Joe Comeau FA1336979 (Nat. Arb. Forum, August 31, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.DisneyOffer.com. Disney needs no introduction in this case. You should know who they are, unless you have been living in the one or two places where they haven’t been able to advertise or sell products and services. Either way, go to www.disney.com for anything your heart desires. Respondent filed a response to this dispute and presented some interesting arguments.
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 quickly dispensed with the first prong, noting that the DISNEY mark is well established and that the disputed domain contained all of the mark including the additional word “offers.”
Moving to the second prong, the Panel noted that DISNEY had met its small initial burden of proving a prima facie case that Respondent lacked any rights or interests. This included claims that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. The Panel shifted the burden to Respondent and explained:
Respondent offers no evidence which might tend to show that he has rights in respect of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶4(c), or otherwise. Respondent offers no explanation as to why he registered a domain name which overtly references Complainant’s DISNEY trademark and he admits he has not built a website associated with the disputed domain name. Respondent states that the webpage referenced by the at-issue domain name is merely a holding page provided by the registrar, Go-Daddy. Respondent makes no claims regarding any intended use for the domain name. Furthermore, Respondent makes no claims that he is somehow making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name.
The Panel thus found that this second prong was proven. Moving to the third prong, bad faith, the Panel made some relevant findings. First the Paenl explained Respondent failed to present any justification that he did not register the domain name for any r3eason other then the value of the mark. Additionally, the Panel found that Respondent had registered well known domain names in the past using other marks such as EBAY and CHEVY.
The Panel found that Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain to DISNEY after recieving a cease and desist letter, which was is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(I). Respondent had argued that “If Respondent has to turn over the domain name to Complainant, it should at least in good faith have to give Respondent the renewal fees paid over the past few years.” Other interesting arguments presented by Respondent included:
Just because Complainant holds onto the name “disney” it does not have the right to squash and try to control every other holder of the word “disney” in the English speaking community or every domain name with the word “disney” in it. They own the market and brand name, but they do not own the word “disney” across the entire English language as long as those interests pose no threat or try to infringe upon their business.
Lastly, the Panel found that the disputed domain resolved to a parked site, featuring links to third parties offering competing goods and services. For all these reasons, the Panel found that DISNEY met its burden of proving all three prongs and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.