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3D Glasses Not Needed In UDRP Loss

In the recent UDRP case of X6D Limited v. Telepathy, Inc. (WIPO Case No. D2010-1519, November 16, 2010) a three member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.xpand.com. Complainant is a supplier of 3D solutions for movie theaters and home use and maintains a website at www.xpandcinema.com. Complainant owns a trademark registration for the mark XPAND BEYOND CINEMA and has pending applications for the single word mark XPAND. The disputed domain was registered on June 25, 2003, which was 3 years prior to the alleged date of first use of the marks by Complainant.

Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the following three elements is present: (i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark; and (ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and (iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Panel found that Complainant established the first prong, since the essence of the registred mark was incorporated into the domain. In addressing the second prong the Panel noted that Respondent alleged the domain was generic or at least descriptive. The Panel found that the word “xpand” was descriptive as a short hand for the word “expand.” The Panel recognized the commercial value of descriptive words, which when such domains are offered for sale can be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services.

The case ultimately seemed to weigh heavily on the third prong, wherein the Panel explained:

The Respondent acquired the disputed domain name in 2003. The Complainant did not use the XpanD Mark until September 2006, more than three years after the Respondent registered the disputed domain name. The Complainant did not provide any explanation as to how the Respondent could possibly have been aware of the Complainant and the Complainant’s mark when registering the disputed domain name.

After making a finding that Complainant failed to prove all three elements, the Panel moved its attention to Respondent’s request for a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. The Panel explained:

In the present case, the Complainant did not provide any explanation as to how the Respondent could possibly have been aware of the Complainant and the Complainant’s mark when registering the disputed domain name, which occurred more than three years before the Complainant started using its XpanD Mark. The Panel therefore accepts the Respondent’s allegation that the Complainant is using the UDRP as an alternative purchase strategy after the acquisition of the disputed domain name failed. Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith, in an attempt of reverse domain name hijacking: The Complainant knew or should have known at the time it filed the Complaint that it could not prove that the domain name was registered in bad faith.

Ultimately the Panel DENIED the request for Transfer.

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