October 08, 2006

Recent UDRP decisions of interest

Spotted among the recent WIPO UDRP decisions:
  • dangersoftamiflu.com (D20006-0781) : TAMIFLU is Roche's trademark. Someone registered the domain name "dangersoftamiflu.com" (and did not explain why: The domain holder remained silent during these proceedings). The panel ruled: "Respondent added the phrase “dangers of” to the term “Tamiflu”, which is identical to Complainant’s TAMIFLU trademarks set forth above. The Panel considers that the addition of the phrase “dangers of” does not diminish the distinctiveness of the term “Tamiflu” within the disputed domain name." If one agrees that such name "does not diminish the distinctiveness" of the trademark, can one say it is "confusingly similar" pursuant to article 4 a) of the UDRP rules?
  • boycottwalmart.com (D2006-0812) : Here, in lenghty findings, the Panel found there was no confusion between this name and the famous WALMART trademark ("Since the Complainant’s mark is embedded in the disputed domain name, it is hard to say there is no similarity, but finding that the disputed domain name is similar to the Complainant’s marks is not sufficient. The critical question in this Panel’s view on this aspect of the Policy is whether the similarity is “confusing”"). To this Panel, "[a] domain name which combines a disparaging or critical term with a trademark may well be confusingly similar to the trademark, but not always. This Panel considers that confusing similarity will be established where those persons who are mostly likely to want to access a complainant’s website will be confused as to whether the complainant is the owner and operator of the website to which the disputed domain name resolves." After reviewing the precedent cases, the Panel rules: "In the present case, the Complainant has provided evidence that it is located in 15 countries world wide. No further information has been provided as to the countries or the language spoken in these countries. The Complainant has not asserted that it has clientele which would be unfamiliar with the English language. In fact, on the Complainant’s website at “www.walmart.com”, the countries cited as having Wal-Mart stores are those countries in which English is the predominate or official language. Therefore, the Panel cannot conclude that the requisite confusion will arise because the Complainant’s customers or potential customers would not understand the meaning of “boycott”" (needless to say I fully agree with such opinion, which I have defended in different articles and on this blog).
  • finances.com (D2006-0706) is worth reading for the facts. The complainant owned the disputed domain name from 1995 to 2005. The respondent said it bought it from the complainant (for 120,000 $) and did not use it but offered it for sale on Sedo. The panelists explain they think the evidence may have been forged.

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