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SAP Shuts Down Job Posting Site

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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.

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