In an odd, yet interesting recent domain name dispute, a single member Panel essentially punted on making a ruling, since the Respondent consented to the transfer. In Bond Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer c/o Typehaus, Inc. v. Brian Kemmenoe FA1316357 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 12, 2010) the dispute over the domain name www.checkjet.com barely cleared the runway before coming to a short end. Complainant has a federal registration over the mark CHECKJET for “Computer hardware and software for creating, generating and printing checks.” The disputed domain was registered in March 2007, whereas the CHECKJET trademark rights did not accrue until April 2007.
The domain was renewed in March 2010, shortly after Complainant put Respondent on notice of possible trademark infringement. The Respondent replied to the dispute, noting that the domain was registered prior to the creation of any trademark rights. However, the Respondent consented to the transfer and essentially forced the hand of the Panelist. What is odd about this case is the Panelist clearly wanted to explore the facts of the case and render a full ruling.
The Panel notes that the domain name was registered before Complainant acquired any trademark rights and finds that there are no circumstances to indicate that Respondent could have had Complainant or its mark in mind when he registered the domain name in March, 2007. But for Respondent’s consent to the transfer of the domain name to Complainant, this case would have presented an opportunity to consider the careful reasoning in Eastman Sporto Group LLC v. Jim and Kenny, WIPO Case No. D2009-1688, which questions whether it is appropriate to continue to follow early Panel decisions that do not accept renewal as registration for the purposes of the Policy.
One can only wonder what the outcome would have been. It is unclear why this Panelist chose not to go through the factors, as other Panels had done, despite the Respondent’s consent for transfer. Infamous Cybersquatter Texas Property Associates often consents to the transfer, however many Panels choose to go through the full analysis anyway. Regardless, the Panel granted the TRANSFER, but made it clear there were no adverse findings to Respondent.