American Express Loses UDRP Based on Inadequate “Bad Faith” Arguments

In a recent domain name dispute over the domain, www.syncard.com, a single member Panel let American Express “Leave Home Without It” and denied a request to transfer a purported cybersquatters domain. See American Express Marketing & Development Corp. v. Admin Support / SEOMarketing.org (Nat. Arb. Forum FA1392387, July 14, 2011). American Express needs no introduction, so let’s skip ahead to the important stuff. ( If you want to know more about AMEX, here is a link to their website www.americanexpress.com). American Express owns the mark ZYNC CARD (Reg. No. 3,848,858, issued on September 14, 2010). The disputed domain was registered on February 26, 2011. Respondent failed to submit a Response.

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 found that the disputed domain simply differed from the mark by deleting the letter “c” from the domain. For this reason, the Panel found that the domain was confusingly similar to American Express’ mark.

Moving onto the second prong, rights or legitimate interests, the Panel declined to review this element, citing to a case which essentially held that a failure to prove any one element was fatal. Therefore, the remainder of the analysis focused on the third prong, registration and use in bad faith. The Panel states its position best:

The Panel finds that Complainant has failed to sufficiently allege a use consonant with a finding of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). Complainant has not only failed to allege a use that would constitute bad faith but has failed to allege any use whatsoever. Thus, the Panel finds that Complainant has failed to prove bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).

As a result, the Panel DENIED Complaint American Express’ request to get the disputed domain.

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