In the recent cybersquatting case of Pamela Anderson v. Alberta Hot Rods Case No. D2010-1144 (WIPO September 8, 2010) a three member panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.pamanderson.com. Pamela Anderson is well known for her acting and modeling. She has multiple trademark registration for the mark PAMELA ANDERSON. She maintains a website at www.pamelaanderson.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain on March 1, 1997 and filed a Response to the Complaint. The parties have been involved in an earlier UDRP proceeding concerning the domain names <pamelaanderson.com>, <pamelaanderson.net> and <pamelalee.com>, which resulted in the transfer of those domain names (see Pamela Anderson v. Alberta Hot Rods, WIPO Case No. D2002-1104).
Under paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP 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.
In addressing the first element, the Panel explained that it must view Anderson’s rights in the mark based on common law, since the Federal trademark rights do not predate the registration of the domain. A discussion of common law rights extending to an abbreviation of Anderson’s first name from PAMELA to PAM, concluded in a finding that it could be found to be confusingly similar. The Panel was satisfied that the domain was confusingly similar to the mark.
Moving on to the second element, the Panel noted that Anderson claims the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain and does not have authorization to use the domain or mark. The Panel noted the following arguments presented by Respondent:
The Respondent claims to have, as a respected publisher of a wealth of information, including biographical data, used the disputed domain name in connection with various websites in the past, all featuring biographical information about various famous personalities, dead or alive. However, the Respondent did not provide any evidence of any contemplated good faith use and therefore failed to prove rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under the Policy.
The Panel found this element also favored Complainant. Moving onto the final element, bad faith registration and use, the Panel made the following observations regarding Respondent knowledge and actions.
Given the Complainant’s broad media coverage and the fact that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in a chronological sequence with the domain names disputed in Pamela Anderson v. Alberta Hot Rods, supra, (<pamelaanderson.com> registered on November 6, 1996; <pamanderson.com> registered on March 1, 1997; <pamelalee.com> registered on March 27, 1997; <pamelaanderson.net> registered on February 25, 1998), it is inconceivable that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without knowledge of the Complainant’s rights. This finding is further supported by the fact that the Complainant seems drawn towards registering well-known people’s names as domain names and therefore seems to be familiar with or at least interested in celebrities. The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
The Panel also applied the consensus view regarding lack of active use of a domain, and explained “In the view of the Panel, the facts of this case do not allow for any plausible actual or contemplated active use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent in good faith. The Panel is therefore convinced that, even though the disputed domain name has not yet been actively used, the Respondent’s non-use of the disputed domain name amounts to use in bad faith.”
Ultimately, the Panel found that all elements were satisfied and ordered the domain be Transferred. This decision was not unanimous though as one of the Panelists provided a dissenting opinion. Additionally, The Panel dismissed the request for Reverse Domain Name Highjacking presented by Respondent.