Would Bruce Lee Have Approved Of This Fight?

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In the recent domain name dispute decision of Hargrave Arts LLC c/o Carter Hargrave v. Chiefasian LLC c/o Martin Eng FA1294273 (Nat. Arb. Forum, December 31, 2009), a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.jeetkunedo.com. Complainant is the owner of multiple Jeet Kune Do related domains, including www.jeetkunedo.net and www.jeetkunedo.org. Mr. Hargrave is the president of the World Jeet Kune Do Federation. He claims common law trademark rights to the mark JEET KUNE DO. A little background is necessary, for an understanding of the origins of JEET KUNE DO. This form of martial arts was founded by Bruce Lee in the late 1960’s. According to the decision, Complainant is one of about 50 certified instructors. The disputed domain was registered on March 6, 2000 and Respondent provided a response to the complaint.  Although the Response was not provided the Panel noted that Respondent claims Hargrave does not have rights to the JEET KUNE DO mark.

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.

The Panel addressed the first element explaining that Complainaint contends he acquired rights to the JEET KUNE DO mark from Bruce Lee and the Bruce Lee Jeet Kune DO School. However, the Panel notes that Hargrave fails to provide any evidence that it represents Bruce Lee or the Bruce Lee School. Additionally, Hargrave fails to provide any evidence that any of the rights to the JEET KUNE DO mark were assigned or licensed to him. For these reasons, the Panel found that Hargrave did not satisfy the first element.

The Panel did not review the remaining elements and DENIED the request for transfer.

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