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Posts Tagged ‘Three-Member Panel’

SHA Wellness Clinic Foolishly Attempts to use the UDRP

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

In a recent domain name dispute over the domain, www.sha.com, a three member Panel not only  denied a request to transfer but slammed the Complainant for improperly bringing the dispute in the first place. See Albir Hills Resort, S.A. v. Telepathy, Inc. WIPO Case No. D2012-0997, August 3, 2012). Complainant Albir Hills Resort, S.A. owns a few Community Trademarks and an International Trademark for the mark SHA relating to a host of different goods and services. Complainant owns the domains www.shawellnessclinic.es and www.shawellnessclinic.com.The disputed domain was registered on August 7, 1998. Respondent, Telepathy, Inc., owns over 3,000 three letter dot com domain names.

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 Complaint had a valid trademark for SHA and that the domain name was identical under Policy paragraph 4(a)(i). Trhe crux of the case was focused on the remainder of the elements.

The Panel’s discussion of the second element began with a review of some relevant UDRP precedent.

It is also well established that a respondent may well have a right to register and use a domain name to attract Internet traffic based solely on the appeal of a commonly used descriptive phrase, even where the domain name is confusingly similar to the registered mark of a complainant, provided that the domain name was registered because of its attraction as a descriptive phrase comprising dictionary words and not because of its value as a trademark and further provided that the website to which the domain name resolves is then used to post links that are relevant only to the common meaning of the phrase comprising dictionary words.

The Panel noted that the disputed domain was registered in 1998, which was many years prior to the existence of Complainant’s company and trademark rights. Further it noted there was no evidence that Respondent had any intention to target Complainant or its Mark. As a result, the Panel found that Respondent in fact had a right or legitimate interest in the domain.

Moving to the final element, the Panel continued with the factual analysis, again noting the disparity between Respondent’s domain registration and Complainant’s rights. Specifically, the Panel noted that  Complainant’s mark SHA was filed for in 2006 and the Complainant has not submitted evidence of prior use of its trademark. The Panel took it a step further though, noting that since it was a three letter domain, the result of multiple acronym uses for SHA yielded possibilities such as “Secure Hash Algorithm”, the “Saskatchewan Hockey Association” and the “Society for Historical Archaeology”. Ultimately, the Panel settled on the fact that there was no evidence to establish that Respondent tried to generate confusion with Complainant’s mark and found this factor favored Respondent.

The Panel was not finished yet, since it then turned its attention to the Reverse Domain Name Hijacking claim.

In the case at hand, the registration date of the disputed domain name precedes the dates of the Complainants’ relevant trademark registrations and the evidence shows that the disputed domain name has been used as part of a bona fide business of the Respondent, which owns over 1000 three-letter-domains in its domain name portfolio. The Panel considers that the Complainant is represented by an attorney who should have appreciated that the Complaint could not succeed in the present proceeding since the disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent eight years prior to filing the trademark applications for SHA. Moreover, the Complainant’s representative has misconceived the nature and the purpose of the Policy according to which the Complaint was brought.

The Panel found Complainant’s assertion of 15 years of market presence to be misleading since the evidence instead pointed to the fact that Complainant opened in 2008 and the mark SHA was not even filed until 2006.

As a result, the Panel DENIED Complaint’s request to get the disputed domain. The Panel additionally found that Complainant engaged in reverse domain name hijacking.

Grab Your Popcorn…Cinema Drama Unfolds

Monday, February 14th, 2011

In the recent domain name dispute of Prime Pictures LLC v. DigiMedia.com L.P. (WIPO Case No. D2010-1877, February 2, 2011) a three member panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.cinemacity.com. Complainant uses the mark CINEMACITY throughout Lebanon, UAE, Jordan and Syria for movie theaters. Complainant claims rights to a Lebanese registered trademark from 2006. However, as there is some dispute over the facts presented by Complainant , in that there appears to be multiple companies that are related as presented by Complainant. The Panel noted that Complainant failed to adequately identify how these companies are related. Respondent registered the disputed domain on September 24, 1998 and has used the website as a parked page since that time.

 In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy, in order to succeed in this proceeding, the Complainant must prove (i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights; (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Panel noted that there are serious questions regarding the first element. As noted above, there were multiple companies referred to in Complainants filing. As a result, the Panel explained “More seriously there is no evidence at all that any of these companies is connected with the Complainant, Prime Pictures LLC, or that Prime Pictures LLC has any right in this mark on any other basis.” The Panel chose not to seek additional proof or information from Complainant in light of its findings under the other prongs.

The Panel then reviewed the second element, and found that Respondent did not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain. However, as many of you know, all three of the elements must be found in favor of the Complainant. In moving onto the third element, the Panel made the following findings:

In this case the Complaint contains no evidence of any use of “Cinema City” as a mark or company name prior to September 2005. The Domain Name was registered by the Respondent in September 1998. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith. The third requirement of the UDRP has not been satisfied and the Complaint must therefore be rejected.

Normally the Panels stop their analysis at this point, making findings for Respondent. However, in this case the Respondent claimed Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. Panels have ben very reluctant to make such a finding. This Panel made the following findings:

In the present case, the Complaint correctly identified that the Domain Name was registered in 1998. Given that the earliest date of any registration or use of the mark relied upon in the Complaint was in 2005, the registration of the Domain Name could not have been in bad faith on any interpretation of the facts and cases cited in the Complaint….the Panel considers it unlikely that this deficiency was overlooked by the Complainant’s counsel and more probable that it was deliberately ignored in framing the Complaint. In all the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith, in an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

Ultimately, the Panel DENIED the request for transfer and made a finding that Complainant engaged in Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

PAM ANDERSON Gets Her Name

Friday, October 1st, 2010

        

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.

Rachael Ray Cooks Up A Win

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

rachaelray

In a very interesting decision, a three member Panel appears to stretch the limits of what is acceptable evidence and methodology for UDRP cases. In the case of Ray Marks Co. LLC v. Rachel Ray Techniques Pvt. Ltd. FA1319966 (Nat. Arb. Forum, July 7, 2010) the Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.rachelray.com. Living in the U.S. most of us have all seen on t.v. or heard about Rachael Ray. She maintains a website at www.rachaelray.com  Many would even think this was a slam dunk case for her, since the disputed domain was merely missing a letter. However, Respondent put up a fight and both parties provided additional submissions. As a result the Panel was faced with making some interesting findings.

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.

Some of the relevant arguments presented by Respondent are as follows:

Respondent, Rachel Ray Techniques Private Limited, is a company incorporated in India on July 23, 2009.  Respondent offers products that involve laser ray technology.  Prior to incorporation, Respondent was operated as a partnership that began April 10, 2007….The Complaint misstates the date of the cease and desist letter.  It was sent on February 24, 2010, not February 24, 2009.  This is an attempt by Complainant to mislead the Panel by creating the impression that the letter was sent prior to Respondent’s incorporation on July 23, 2009….Respondent selected the name “Rachel Ray” for its business because the daughter of the technical partner of the original firm was named “Rachel”.  The initial name for the company was going to be “Rachel Lazer Techniques”, but, for reasons related to the practice of numerology, there was a decision to switch to “Rachel Ray Techniques”.

In the decision, the Panel presented the following findings:

Respondent is the owner of the disputed domain name, <rachelray.com>, and the date of creation is September 20, 2001.  The Respondent acquired the name some time later. Respondent is a corporation organized under the laws of India on July 23, 2009, after having been formed as a partnership on April 10, 2007.

With that in mind the Panel reviewed the elements and quickly found that the domain was identical or confusingly similar. The fascinating parts of the decision came during the examination of the second element. The Panel found that the burden was shifted to Respondent to prove it had rights or legitimate interests in the domain. It stated as follows:

Respondent claims to have formed a company in April 2007, which was incorporated in 2009, to market laser-based equipment and other items.  Respondent has supplied the Panel with scads of evidence (Annexes A through W), citing its business name on advertisements, telephone listings, invoices and Indian governmental documents, to support its contention.

However, the Complaint provided evidence that the disputed domain hosted websites that offered Complainants own trademark. Respondent chalked this up to error and lack of control over third party hosting, exclaiming that they are not technical people. Armed with that argument, the Panel made the following statement.

The Panel is presented therefore with competing claims on this issue.  UDRP proceedings provide for only limited evidentiary presentations, and it is difficult for the Panel to make fine assessments as to veracity.  One tool it can employ in this regard is to examine each party’s contentions for consistency.  On this issue, the Panel finds no inconsistency in Complainant’s assertions, whereas there is marked inconsistency with respect to those made by Respondent.  Respondent’s declaration about “not being technical people” is contradicted by Respondent earlier Additional Submission reference to its “technical partner”.  Moreover, that contradiction is heightened by Respondent’s claim to run a business that offers products “using the Technology involving Laser Rays”, which suggests that Respondent’s people must possess fairly sophisticated technical expertise.

Additionally, the Panel found that the lack of proof of sales volume or revenue in connection with products was fatal. Then the Panel turned its attention to the issue of whether Respondent was commonly known by the domain. AS stated earlier Respondents company name specifically includes the domain, but the Panel did not care.

However, it has not escaped the Panel’s notice that the date of Respondent’s origination, April 10, 2007, followed hard upon the date, March 27, 2007, of the USPTO registration of Complainant’s most basic trademark, RACHAEL RAY.  Is this coincidence or design?  Though Respondent is an Indian entity, the miracle of the Internet makes knowledge of such information as USPTO registrations almost instantaneous around the globe, and the Panel must keep in mind that the initiation of the Policy is predicated on the cunning and sophistication of global cyber-squatters. As discussed above, Respondent has provided the Panel with scant evidence of actually conducting business.  Consequently, the Panel cannot conclude that Respondent is  commonly known by that name, as is necessary for application of subparagraph 4(c)(ii).  The Panel believes that that subparagraph requires more than evidence suggesting a hastily formed “paper” company which adopts a name that is nearly indistinguishable from an established trademark and, soon after formation, acquires a corresponding domain name.

The Panel quickly resolved the bad faith element of the case. Ultimately, the Panel ruled that domain be TRANSFERRED.

NATURE’S CHOICE Bark Smaller Then It’s Bite

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

       natures-choice

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Kim Laube & Company Inc. v. RareNames, WebReg FA1291282 (Nat. Arb. Forum December 22, 2009) a three member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domains www.natureschoice.com and www.natures-choice.com. Complainant sells pet grooming products and has a a trademark registration for the mark NATURE’S CHOICE. Respondent provided a response to the complaint and registered the disputed domains in 2002 and 2003.

Policy ¶ 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP rules requires that Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that the domain names should be cancelled or transferred: 1. the domain names registered by Respondent are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; 2. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names; and 3. the domain names have been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Panel addressed the first element of the analysis and explained that the domains were identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. Although Respondent argued that Complainant could not hold exclusive rights on the common words, the Panel dismissed this argument under this prong of analysis.

The Panel declined to address the second prong, directing its attention to the third prong. First the Panel noted that there was no evidence presented that Respondent’s registered the domains primarily for the purpose of disrupting Complainant’s business.  The Panel only paid serious attention to Policy ¶4(b)(i) and (iv). Those sections state:

For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or…

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

The Panel explained as follows:

Turning first to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i), Respondent states that its business is the acquisition then sale of domain names for profit.  The only important issue is whether Complainant can point to circumstances indicating that Respondent registered the names primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to Complainant or to a competitor of Complainant.

Likewise, Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) requires proof that Respondent for commercial gain; intentionally used the disputed domain name to attract web users; to an on-line location; by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of that on-line location, or of a product or service at that location.

Once more, the key issue is whether Respondent can be said to have used the domain names in a way which intentionally created a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark.

The Panel recognized that there are other contrary decisions on this topic but noted that their view was that “proof of actual knowledge of a Complianant’s trademark rights is necessary.” The Panel explained that in the situations where there is a trademark with descriptive elements, then the onus rises on proof of knowledge. The Panel discounts the arguments put forth by Complainant of its common law rights, based on a lack of evidentiary support. The Panel concluded by noting:

Taking account of the inherently descriptive character of both the trademark and the disputed domain name, the degree to which either very similar domain names or identical domain names with different extensions have been registered/used by others, the lack of evidence that Respondent has habitually abused third party trademark rights, and all of the circumstances, the Panel finds that neither Policy ¶ 4(b) (i) or (iv) is made out.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Complainant had failed to prove up all three elements, and DENIED the request for transfer.

MATTEL Races To Victory With HOT WHEELS Domains

Monday, December 21st, 2009

           hot-wheels-logo

In two recent domain name dispute decisions, Mattel, Inc. v. Bladimir Boyiko (Nat. Arb. Forum, FA1290718, Dec. 16, 2009) and Mattel, Inc. v. Domain c/o VO (Nat. Arb. Forum, FA1289791 Dec. 15, 2009) two separate three member Panels were faced with disputes over www.wwwhotwheels.com and www.hotwheels.org. Mattel is the well known toy company responsible for the HOT WHEELS die cast cars. HOT WHEELS were first sold in the U.S. in 1968. Complainant operates web sites at www.hotwheels.com and www.mattel.com. Both Respondents failed to provide a response to the complaints.

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 the first case referenced above, the Panel recognized Mattel’s HOT WHEELS mark and had  “no difficulty in finding that the Domain Name is confusingly similar” to the mark. Mattel presented a prima facie case, which included an argument that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, as the Panel found, Respondent was using the domain for third party link click through fee generation.  Lastly the Panel noted that the domain was an example of typosquatting. The Panel found that Respondent was involved in other UDRP proceedings and therefore was engaged in a pattern of bad faith.

In the second mentioned case, the Panel also noted that the HOT WHEELS mark was well known throughout the world and that the domain was identical to the disputed domain. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain and that Mattel had presented a prima facie case. Lastly the Panel found that Respondent’s inaccurate or incomplete contact information was evidence of bad faith. Additionally, Respondent’s failure to respond was evidence against.

Ultimately, the Panels found in favor of Mattel and ordered the 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.

Life Extension Foundation Wins Its Domain

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Life Extension Foundation, Inc. v. PHD Prime Health Direct Limited (FA1289603, Nat. Arb. Forum, November 25, 2009) a three member Panel agreed to transfer the domain www.lifeextensionfoundation.com to Complainant. Life Extension Foundation maintains web sites at www.lef.org and www.lifeextension.com. As their web site states:

The Life Extension Foundation is the world’s largest organization dedicated to finding scientific methods for addressing disease, aging, and death. The Life Extension Foundation is a non-profit group that funds pioneering scientific research aimed at achieving an indefinitely extended healthy human lifespan. The fruits of this research are used to develop novel disease prevention and treatment protocols.

 Our law firm represented Life Extension Foundation in this dispute, so we will refrain from providing our normal commentary. If you would like to know more details please read the decision (here).

Panel Denies Claim For 3 Letter Domain, Finds Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Bin Shabib & Associates (BSA) LLP v. Hebei IT Shanghai ltd c/o Domain Administrator FA1287164 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 19, 2009), a three member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.bsa.com. Complainant is a law firm which operates in the United Arab Emirates and maintains a website at www.bsa.ae. Complainant claims rights to the BSA mark since based on two different dates, 2001 and 2007. Complainant filed for a trademark in the UAE, but has not yet received a registration. Respondent provided a Response, including an additional submission. The Panel noted that the Response was deficient for not being timely, but concluded to review the materials regardless.

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 explained:

The Panel finds that Complainant has failed to establish registered trademark rights or common law rights in the BSA mark. Specifically, Complainant’s use of the BSA mark for less than two years has been too short, and Complainant has not shown any evidence of the sort that is usually used to establish that a mark has acquired secondary meaning. In light of Respondent’s arguments, the Panel finds that Complainant has failed to establish common law rights in the BSA mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)….Having found that Complainant has not satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) because it has failed to establish rights in the mark, the Panel declines to analyze the other two elements of the Policy.

The Panel was not finished though, since it then addressed the issue of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

The panel finds that Complainant has failed to present any evidence to support its claimed rights in the disputed domain name. It only provided an application for trademark registration which does not establish any enforceable rights under the UDRP. It did not offer any evidence to support a finding of common law rights in the disputed mark. Also, the Panel finds that Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name or that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Based on the foregoing, the panel finds that reverse domain name hijacking has occurred.

In light of the following, the Panel DENIED Complainant’s request to transfer the domain. and made a finding of reverse domain name hijacking.

AAA Auto Club Can’t Get AAA.net

Monday, July 27th, 2009

In the recent domain dispute decision of The American Automobile Association, Inc. v. QTK Internet c/o James M. van Johns FA1261364 (Nat. Arb. Forum, July 25, 2009) a three member Panel provided an interesting decision regarding www.aaa.net. Our friends over at Domain Name Wire provided an excellent review of the decision, so we suggest you read their version. (available here). We can already forsee that there will be many future disputes which cite to this decision.

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