A Fight Over Wood Means Lots Of Splinters

In the recent cybersquatting dispute of Greenply Industries Limited v. Matthew Poston WIPO Case No. D2010-1748, November 29, 2010, single member panel was face with a dispute over the domain www.greenply.net. Complainant is a supplier of plywood and laminate to the Indian market and has multiple Indian trademark registrations.  Complainant also maintains a website at www.greenply.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in October 2008 and filed a Response to the dispute. Respondent filed for a U.S. trademark registration for the mark GREENPLY in February 2008, and it was published for opposition in July 2008. Respondent argued that since the USPTO had moved the application to publication, he believed that the registration of the domain was not in bad faith.

According to paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that: (i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and (ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Panel quickly addressed the first element, noting that the domain was identical to Complainant’s mark. The case turned on the second prong. The Panel noted that Complainant failed to present evidence demonstrating business in the U.S. prior to the Respondent’s registration of the domain. Additionally the Panel notes there was nothing in the record to indicate that Respondent’s intention to target Complainant’s brand. The Panel further rejected any contention that there has been confusion based upon a lack of evidence presented.

The Panel did not address the third prong in light of finding that Respondent established rights or legitimate interests in the domain. Ultimately the Panel DENIED the request for transfer.

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