logo

Posts Tagged ‘Pay-Per-Click’

SPORT2000 Sleeps Too Long on its Rights

Monday, February 11th, 2013

In a recent domain name dispute over the domain, www.SPORT2000.com, a single member Panel  denied a request to transfer. See Sport 2000 Brand AG v. sport2000 (WIPO Case No. D2012-2449, January 28, 2013). Complainant Sport Brand AG owns many trade marks involving the words “Sport 2000” and since 1988, has used them in the sport retail industry. Sport Brand AG claims to have more than 3,500 retail outlets in 25 countries. Complainant operates a domain at  www.Sport2000International.com. The disputed domain was registered in 1998. Respondent provided a response and was represented pro se.

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.

Regarding the first element, the Panel provided a short yet instructive review of the facts.

The disputed domain name contains the word elements of the Complainant’s trade mark in their entirety. The difficulty for the Complainant in this case is that each of the trade mak registrations of which it provides evidence are for those word elements in a particular script or presentation and there is some question as to whether the Complainant has acquired trade mark rights in the combination of generic words “Sport 2000” itself. The only evidence that the Complainant offers of acquired rights in relation to that combination of generic words are: its use as part of a range of domain name registrations; and the size and extent of its business operations in which, presumably, the word combination is often used, at least verbally, without the design elements of the trade mark. Given the likely extent of that use of the word combination itself, the Panel finds, on balance, that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the disputed domain name.

As a result, the Panel found that Complainant was able to satisfy ¶4(a)(i) of the Policy.

Complainant hit a road block on the second prong, wherein the Panel noted “This task is rendered more crucial in cases, such as the present one, in which the Complainant’s trade mark consists of a combination of generic words applied to the promotion of goods or services with which they are almost automatically associated.” The Panel acknolwedged that a using a website with generic links for a PPC (pay-per-click) means can be permissble. Further, the Panel found that Complainant presented insufficient evidence to rebut Respondents assertion that it could not have known about Complainant’s rights prior to registration. Another huge problem for Complainant was the length of time it waited to bring the action. Ultimately, the Panel found that Complainant was unable to satisfy ¶4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

As a result, the Panel DENIED Complaint’s request to transfer the disputed domain.

ASHLEY MADISON Gives Cheaters 101 More Domains

Monday, May 17th, 2010

ashleymadison

If you haven’t heard about Ashley Madison, then you are likely in a committed relationship and would never even consider cheating or you don’t pay much attention to commercials. In the recent cybersquatting case of Avid Dating Life, Inc. v. Private Whois Service FA1318204 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 13, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over 101 domains. A full list of the domains is provided in the decision. Complainant is the owner of the well known website www.AshleyMadison.com where people can seek out others who are in committed relationships seeking to have an affair. As their own tag line states “Life is Short. Have an Affair.” No matter what you may think about such a service, it has become wildly popular and boasts nearly 6 million anonymous members. One of the disputed domains was registered in 2005, while all the others were registered in 2008 and 2009. Complainant has federal trademark rights dating back to at least 2004.

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.

The Panel began its analysis noting that Complainant established rights in its ASHLEY MADISON mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through its trademark registrations with the USPTO. All of the disputed domain names contained some typographical modification to the registered mark. The Panel found these domains were confusingly similar to the registered mark since they were common misspellings. For this reason, the Panel found that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) had been satisfied.

The second part of the analysis the Panel noted that Complainant presented a prima facie case, and although Respondent failed to respond, it still chose to review the facts. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domains. Evidence presented to the Panel included proof that two of the disputed domains contained links to competing adult dating websites.

The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the <ashleymadis0on.com> and <ashleymadision.com> domain names to display third-party links to competitors of Complainant is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).

The Complainant noted that the other 99 domains did not resolve to active websites. The Panl found that failure to make active use of the domains meant they were “not connected with a bona fide offering or goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).” And lastly under this section, the Panel found “registration of the disputed domain names containing misspelled versions of Complainant’s mark is further evidence of Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests in the names under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).” For all these reasons, Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) had been satisfied.

Moving to the final element, bad faith, the Panel repeated many of the same facts and applied them in this section as stated earlier. This includes, the third party links, the inactive websites, the typographical variations on the domain names. The Panel also found that “Respondent’s registration of many trademark infringing domain names within a short period of time is evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii).” For all these reasons, Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) had been satisfied.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Complainant presented and proved all three elements, and ordered the domains be TRANSFERRED.

Gay Porn Site Target of Typosquatting

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

It should come as no surprise that adult web sites are targeted for cybersquatting. In the recent domain name dispute of Blu Media Inc. v. Transure Enterprise Ltd c/o Host Master FA1307892 (Nat. Arb. Forum, March 30, 2010) a single member panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.justsuboys.com. Complainant uses its domain www.justusboys.com as a for profit adult website. The domain was originally launched in 2002, although complainant did not purchase it until January 2010. Respondent registered the disputed domain in October 2009.  Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint.

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 noted that Complainant does not have a registration for the mark JUSTUSBOYS.COM.  Thus the Panel was forced to determine if the Complainant’s mark had established secondary meaning.

In support of its contention Complainant has submitted evidence of awards received for its e-magazine as well as critic reviews of its website and magazine.  Complainant further provides evidence of high “Alexa” rankings for the number of visitors to its website.  The Panel finds that Complainant has produced sufficient evidence to show it has common law rights in the JUSTUSBOYS.COM mark for purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through continuous and extensive commercial use before Respondent registered the disputed domain name.

The Panel found that the disputed domain was confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark and that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) had been satisfied

Moving to the second element, the Panel noted that Complainant submitted evidence sufficient for a showing and establishment of a prima facie case. Regardless the Panel chose to review the evidence presented. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, the disputed domain was offering third party links to competing adult oriented web sites. “The Panel finds that Respondent’s reliance on typosquatting to create a confusingly similar disputed domain name, where it receives referral fees to websites in competition with Complainant is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).” Also, Complainant put forth evidence that Respondent was seeking to sell the disputed domain publicly and to Complainant. Lastly, the Panel remarked that the domain was a typosquatted version of the mark. For all these reasons, the Panel found that Respondent lacked any rights or legitimate interests in the domain, and that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) had been satisfied

In addressing the final element, the Panel began by examining Respondent offer to sell the domain for $5,000.00 to Complainant. “The Panel finds that Respondent’s general listing of the disputed domain name for sale, as well as its attempts to sell the disputed domain name to Complainant for amounts in excess of its initial costs are evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(i).” The Panel also found that Respondent intentionally disrupted Complainant’s business. Additionally, the Panel found that the use of competitive third party links for financial gain was evidence of bad faith registration and use. Ultimately, the Panel ruled  that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) had been satisfied            

After review of all the elements the Panel ruled that Complainant met all three and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

Hasbro Tells MONOPOLY Cybersquatter “Do Not Pass Go…”

Friday, February 26th, 2010

monopoly     hasbro

In the recent cybersquatting decision of Hasbro, Inc. v. City of Media FA1302591 (Nat. Arb. Forum, February 25, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.monopolybingo.com. Hasbro is the famous game producer of the Monopoly board game, which has been played by approximately 750 million people worldwide. Habsro maintains to relevant web site, namely www.monopoly.com and www.hasbro.com. The MONOPOLY mark has been used in the U.S. since 1935 and Hasbro has been promoting its online version of the game for a few years. Respondent registered the disputed domain on November 10, 2008.

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 Hasbro established rights to the mark MONOPOLY and that the disputed domain merely added the generic word bingo. The Panel found that the domain was confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.

Moving to the second element, the Panel explained that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, the disputed domain resolved to a wbe site which had third party links and advertisements. The Panel determined that Respondent profited from click through fees generated from these links. Therefore, the use of the site was not a bona fide offering of goods or services and the Panel found Complainant satisfied this element as well.

Finally, the last element, bad faith, the Panel found that some of the third party links displayed the MONOPOLY trademark and some of the links directly competed with the gaming services provided by Hasbro. The Panel believed this domain sought to disrupt Hasbro’s business by redirecting consumers to competitors.
        
For these reasons, the Panel found that Complainant satisfied all the elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

Respondent Has Interesting Arguments For Registering Microsoft’s BING Domains

Monday, January 4th, 2010

       bing-logo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Microsoft Corporation v. Doug Goodman FA1294422 (Nat. Arb. Forum, December 31, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over 21 separate domains containing the mark BING. Microsoft needs no introduction and maintains many web sites for its business, the most relevant in this case being, www.bing.com. The disputed domains were registered during a three day period of June 24, 2009 through June 26, 2009. Respondent provided a response to the dispute, and gave some colorful defenses, which included:

1.    Respondent “created of formulated” the disputed domain names that had been missed by “Microsoft webmasters” until Respondent offered them to Complainant.
2.      The disputed domain names would bring value to the Complainant and the Complainant should pay for them.
3.      Respondent concedes that each of the names has BING in them and that BING is a pending mark
4.      The domain names were not registered in bad faith because Respondent had no intent to harm BING, Inc.
5.      Respondent does not use the disputed domain names to divert users from BING, Inc.
6.      Because of the value the disputed names will bring to Complainant, the case should be viewed as a case of reverse name highjacking

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy requires Complainant to 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) 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, Microsoft noted that it does not have any registered BING marks yet, but did file for multiple BING related trademarks in March 2009. The Panel noted that Microsoft need not have a trademark registration and can show that it has common law rights to the mark. Microsoft presented evidence that it has continuously used the BING mark since May 28, 2008 and that a previous UDRP Panel found that it had established its rights to the mark. As a result, the Panel reviewed the disputed domains and found that they were confusingly similar to the BING mark. Interestingly, as the Panel explained, Respondent concedes that he intentionally put the BING mark in the domains and was fully aware of Microsoft’s interest in the mark. The Panel found Microsoft satisfied this element.

Moving to the second element, the Panel noted that Microsoft put forth a prima facie case, shifting the burden of argument to Respondent. The Panel noted that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, the Panel found that four (4) of the domains led users to a web site with third party hyperlinks, some of which compete with Microsoft. The Panel found that this was not a bona fide offering of services. Regarding the remaining 17 domains, the Panel noted that they redirected the user to Microsoft’s BING.com web site. The Panel explained that Respondent admitted his primary intention in registering these domains was to sell them to Microsoft. Offering to sell the domains is also not considered a bona fide use. The Panel found that Microsoft satisfied this element.

Moving to the final element, bad faith, the Panel noted that the Respondent attempted to sell the domains for more then his out-of-pocket expenses. This factor is considered bad faith. Additionally, the four domains which landed on parked pages, also were a showing of bad faith, since they likely resulted in click-through fees for Respondent. The Panel found Microsoft satisfied this element as well.

The Panel quickly dispensed with Respondent’s reverse domain name hijacking argument and found that since Microsoft had proved all three elements, it ordered all 21 domains be TRANSFERRED.

Split Panel Beats Up Domainer Over “Vagalume”

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

            vagalume

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Vaga-lume Midia Ltda v. Kevo Ouz d/b/a Online Marketing Realty FA1287151 (Nat. Arb. Forum, December 7, 2009) a three member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.vagalume.com. Complainant runs a Brazilian based web site about music, since 2002, located at www.vagalume.com.br and www.vaga-lume.com.br. Respondent is a domain name entrepreneur who admits to registering domains of common or descriptive words. The disputed domain was purchased by Respondent in December 2007.

Paragraph 4(a) of the 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.

The Panel provided a split decision, with only two of the Panelists providing the majority opinion. In addressing the first prong the Panel explained that Complainant provided a Brazil  trademark registration certificate for VAGALUME and design. The Panel concluded that the there was letter-by-letter coincidence of the disputed domain and the mark.

The Panel next addressed the second element, whether the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the domain. The Respondent argued that the term vagalume means firefly in Portugese. The Panel however noted that Complainant’s use of the mark is not descriptive and instead was arbitrary. Respondent claimed he registered the domain due to its high traffic, but the Panel noted he failed to provide any evidence of this traffic being a result of common nature use of the term. Instead the Panel noted that results of an Alexa.com search showed that over 91% of the visitors to the disputed domain originated from Brazil. Next the Panel addressed the actual control and use of the domain, and this is where the Panel began to chastize Respondent:

As also shown by Complainant, after having received service of the present complaint, Respondent manually modified the parameters governing the generation of ads appearing on the website at the disputed domain name, from ads almost related to music to generic ads. This shows that Respondent always could and did control the contents of his website (“pay-per-click” links), which deprives of any credibility Respondent’s contention that he did not did not select the links, and that they were auto-generated by Yahoo and Parked.com. Respondent’s manual change of the ads parameters, following his having received service of the complaint, was hidden until Complainant revealed it in its additional submission. This shows that when Respondent registered the disputed domain name he was targeting Complainant’s mark to extract income from pay-per-click links precisely aimed at Complainant’s audience and traffic. Only after having been served with the complaint, did Respondent use his ability to manually control the contents of his website at the disputed domain name, and posted texts explaining that VAGALUME means “firefly”, in an obvious attempt to justify – ex post facto – his having chosen the disputed domain name. All this does not reveal a use of the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4.c.i., or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4.c.iii.

The Panel then moved to the final element, bad faith. The Panel explained that bad faith requires knowledge or awareness of the mark. This knowledge or awareness is a responsibility for those who own large portfolios of domains. This willful blindness concern was addressed by Respondent who claimed that he conducted a search for the trademark on the USPTO site prior to purchase. Additionally, the Respondent claimed that a U.S. resident should not be obliged to search the records of all foreign trademark offices. The Panel disagreed with this view, noting that since the domain was a Portugese word, a search in Brazil would have been necessary. The Panel went on to explain:

Additionally, the Panel notes that Respondent’s remarks that he had no knowledge of the Complainant or its trademark prior to the instant dispute are contradicted by the uncontroverted circumstantial evidence discussed above.  Respondent’s prevarication regarding his prior knowledge of the Complainant and its common law trademark, as well other apparently disingenuous statements made in his pleadings, is additional independent and sufficient grounds for finding bad faith registration and use.

The Panel does not stop the bleeding there, as they then discuss the three prior UDRP cases which Respondent lost on default. As a result the Panel stated:

While Respondent observes that in all such cases he was in default, the Panel cannot but speculate that an experienced domainer like Respondent may have considered that its case was indefensible. In any event, there is no evidence that Respondent has challenged any of these decisions before a court, as it was his right under the UDRP. Respondent cavalierly considers such cases to be a “few UDRP losses”. The Panel believes that those cases demonstrate that Respondent had engaged “in a pattern of such conduct” when he registered the disputed domain name in order to prevent Complainant from reflecting the VAGALUME mark in a “.com” domain name, which is a circumstance of bad faith registration pursuant to Policy § 4.b.ii.

The reasons for ruling against Respondent did not stop there, though. The Panel criticized Respondent for changing the parameters of the pay per click links on his web site after receiving notice of the dispute. The Panel found that this showed Respondent had control of the web site all along and that since this is an experienced domainer “it is unlikely if not absurd to find that he was unaware of exactly how the parking page worked and that he could manipulate it.”

Ultimately, the Panel found that all three elements were satisfied and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

DefendMyDomain Commentary: There is a very long and well thought Dissent opinion. The Panelist takes a careful approach at noting that there are issues on both sides, but that the Complainant just did not provide evidence sufficient for a finding that satisfied all the elements. The dissenting Panelist instead challenged that the decision should not be based on supposition and conjecture. Take the time to read this dissent to get an understanding of just how different Panelists can view a specific case.  We believe the Domainers are going to have a real problem with this decision, but the current UDRP system remains.

Hard Rock Café Wins An Easy Hand In “Poker” Dispute

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

       hard_rock_casino_logo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc. v. Ronald Robinson FA1290206 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 25, 2009), a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.hardrockpoker.net. Hard Rock is the well known chain of Hotels, Casinos and Restaurants that are all over the world. They have been in business since 1978 and have trademark rights to the HARD ROCK mark. Hard Rock maintains several website located at www.hardrock.com, www.hardrockhotels.com, and www.hardrockpoker.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in May 2009 and failed to respond to the disputed domain.

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.

The Panel addressed the first element, noting that Complainant established rights in the HARD ROCK mark through multiple registrations of the mark. The Panel found that the disputed domain merely added the descriptive word poker, which was not different enough from the mark.

Moving to the second element, the Panel found that Hard Rock presented a prima facie case, shifting the burden to Respondent. Although the Respondent failed to respond to the complaint, the Panel chose to review the record anyway. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain under Policy paragraph 4(c)(ii). Additionally, the Panel noted that the disputed domain resolved top show banner advertisements and links to gaming web sites. For this reasons, the Panel determined this was not a bona fide offering of goods and services under Policy paragraph 4(c)(i).

When discussing the last element, bad faith, the Panel noted that the domain was hosting links to advertisements for gambling web sites. The Panel inferred that Respondent was attempting to disrupt Hard Rock’s business by competing directly. Additionally, it was determined that Respondent was receiving click through fees from the links and profiting from the confusion.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Hard Rock proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

MARY KAY Enriches It’s Domain Portfolio

Monday, November 16th, 2009

        marykay

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Mary Kay Inc. v. Open Water Enterprises Limited c/o Louis S FA1286701 (Nat. Arb Forum, November 12, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.mayrkay.com. Complainant Mary Kay is the well known manufacturer and distributor of body care and cosmetic products, with rights dating back to 1963. Complainant owns the mark MARY KAY and operates a web site at www.marykay.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in 2003 and failed to respond to the Complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the 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 recognized the trademark registrations for the MARY KAY mark and found that Complainant’s rights were established under Policy paragraph 4(a)(I). The Panel found that the disputed domain was a misspelled version of Complainant’s mark MARY KAY, with the r and y letters transposed. For this reason, the Panel found that MARY KAY satisfied the first element.

In addressing the second element, whether Respondent had any rights or legitimate interests in the domain, the Panel explained:

The relevant WHOIS information identifies the registrant of the disputed domain name as “Open Water Enterprises Limited c/o Louis S,” and there is no evidence in the record to suggest that Respondent is otherwise commonly known by the <mayrkay.com> domain name.  Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii)….Respondent’s <mayrkay.com> domain name resolves to a website featuring click-through links and advertisements for Complainant’s competitors in the body care and cosmetics industry.  The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to Complainant’s competitors, presumably for financial gain, does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii)….Respondent’s <mayrkay.com> domain name qualifies as typosquatting, given the transposition of two letters in the MARY KAY mark.  As such, Respondent’s attempt to capitalize on the typographical errors of Internet users constitutes evidence that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).

Moving to the final element, bad faith, the Panel explained that Respondent had been involved in other prior UDRP proceedings and a pattern of bad faith registration has been established. Additionally, since the web site resolved to promote MARY KAY competitors via click-through links, it disrupted Complainant’s business. Further evidence of bad faith was from click through fees presumably generated from these links. Lastly, the Panel found that Respondent engaged in typosquatting.

For all these reasons, the Panel ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

DISNEY Doesn’t Need Much Magic to Get 33 Domains

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

        DisneyLogo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Gu Bei FA1284140 (Nat. Arb. Forum October 31, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over 33 domains. Disney needs no introduction and appears to have done its homework on going after so many domains at once. Disney maintains a web site at www.disney.com. Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the 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.

A list of the 33 domains is provided below:
<disneycaliforniaadventure.com>, <disaneychannle.com>, <disanychannle.com>, <disentchannel.com>, <disenychanne.com>, <diseychanell.com>, <disnecanl.com>, <disnenchannel.com>, <disneychaael.com>, <disneychanele.com>, <disneycruiselines.com>, <disneyemployment.com>, <disneyhcannel.com>, <disneyswan.com>, <disneyvacationpackage.com>, <disnneychannnel.com>, <disnycanal.com>, <disnypornland.com>, <dissne.com>, <disyneychannel.com>, <wwdisneychannel.com>, <waltdisneycruises.com>, <toondineyindia.com>, <toondinsy.com>, <toondisneygames.com>, <toondisniey.com>, <toondisnney.com>, <toondysney.com>, <tooondisney.com>, <playhousedisneey.com>, <playhousedisneychannelasia.com>, <plaayhousedisney.com>, and <freedisneyporn.com>

In addressing the elements, the Panel quickly reviewed the facts and applied what appears to be an expected result. Generally, the Panel found that Disney had hundreds of registrations for its family of DISNEY marks and that the domains were confusingly similar to these marks. Most of the domains were misspellings of the marks. The Panel found that Disney made a prima facie case, with the burden shifting to Respondent. Additionally, the Whois information provided no support that Respondent was commonly known by the disputed domains. The Panel found that Respondent was using the domains to display advertising links to third party web sites. The Panel made a finding that Respondent was engaged in typosquatting, causing a finding of no rights or legitimate interests. The Panel also relied on this to infer bad faith, although the Panel also relied on the click-through fees from the links.

This was a pretty standard case, but was worth a note since they were able to get a decision on 33 domains. Ultimately, the Panel ordered all domains be TRANSFERRED.

MICHELIN Rolls Away With A Win.

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

    MichelinLogo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Michelin North America, Inc. v. Bobbi Goldfinch c/o Gold finch enterprise FA1285536 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 2, 2009), a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.michelintires.org. Complainant is the well known manufacturer of tires, with sales in nearly 170 countries. Complainant owns a trademark for MICHELIN since 1970. Respondent failed to respond to the complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the 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: (i) the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and (ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and (iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In addressing the first element, the Panel noted that the disputed domain name incorporated all of the MICHELIN trademark and added the descriptive term tires. This addition increased the likelihood of confusion since it related directly to Michelin’s products. The Panel noted that the affixation of a generic top-level domain was functional and had no effect as well. The Panel found Michelin satisfied this element.

Moving to the second element, the Panel noted that Michelin made a prima facie case, which shifted the burden to Respondent. However, since Respondent did not present a defense, the Panel could have chosen to find in favor of Complainant and move on, but instead the Panel chose to review the record. The Panel noted that the disputed domain resolved to a site showing Complainant’s logo and providing click-through links to Michelin’s competitors. The Panel found this was not bona fide offering of goods or services. Additionally the Whois information showed that Respondent was not commonly known by the name. For these reasons the Panel found that Michelin satisfied this element also.

Moving to the final element, bad faith, the Panel found that Respondent’s use of a web site with click-through links to divert business satisfied this element. Additionally, those click-through links were presumed to receive click-through fees, capitalizing on Michelin’s mark. The Panel found that Respondent engaged in bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Michelin satisfied all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

Switch to our mobile site