WRESTLEMANIA Domain Fight Not Worthy Of Pay-Per-View


In the recent domain name dispute decision of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. v. Israel Joffe WIPO D2010-0860 (July 1, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a decision over the domains www.wrestlemania26.com, www.wrestlemania27.com and  www.wrestlemania28.com. Complaint is the well known media and sports entertainment company responsible for much of the past few decades worth of wrestling entertainment. They maintain a website at www.wwe.com. WWE claims rights to the WRESTLEMANIA mark dating back to 1985.

Respondent provided a short response to the Complaint which states in full as follows:

Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price. However if the person does not attempt to sell the name to the company, then no laws have been violated since intent to sell in bad faith has not been proven. In Virtual Works, Inc. v. Volkswagen of America, Inc. (a dispute over the domain vw.net), the [United States] Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals created a common law requirement that the cybersquatter exhibit a bad faith intent in order to confer liability. This means that domain names bearing close resemblance to trademarked names are not per se impermissible. Rather, the domain name must have been registered with the bad faith intent to later sell it to the trademark holder. This “bad faith” concept is reiterated in 15 U.S.C. § 1125 and U.S.C. § 1129. I never had any intention of selling the names to WWE and made no attempts to sell it to them. They have not proven that I tried to sell them the name, therefore no laws have been violated and I should be allowed to keep the domain names.

The Panel did not buy these arguments and explained that paragraph 4(a) provides a non-exhaustive list of examples to prove bad faith. The Panel noted that the websites were not active and through its own research appeared to never have been active. Regardless, the Panel still explored the Respondent sole reason for proving lack of bad faith and stated:

The panel in Telstra, supra, and scores of panels subsequently, have found that “warehousing” or simply registering and holding a domain name whose dominant feature is a famous mark, is use in bad faith. This is now a well-settled rule of decision in UDRP proceedings. See WIPO Overview, paragraph 3.2, Consensus View: “The lack of active use of the domain name does not as such prevent a finding of bad faith. The panel must examine all the circumstances of the case to determine whether respondent is acting in bad faith. Examples of circumstances that can indicate bad faith include complainant having a well-known trademark, no response to the complaint, concealment of identity and the impossibility of conceiving a good faith use of the domain name.”

Ultimately, the Panel found that Complaint satisfied all three elements and ordered the domains be TRANSFERRED.

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One Response to “WRESTLEMANIA Domain Fight Not Worthy Of Pay-Per-View”

  1. Sreehari.V Says:

    The panel has done the right thing.The domains should be transferred.

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