March 29, 2007

Two UDRP decisions over "gripe" domain names has been transferred to Air France (WIPO D2007-0014), but will remain in the hands on the defendant (WIPO D2007-0070).
The first domain name was used in conjunction with links (apparently not sponsored), mainly related to the air travel sector. The second name was used in conjunction with a website that is critical of Complainant’s business practices.

In the first decision, the Panel relied on this classical reasoning: "the mere addition of a pejorative term word before and/or after a complainant’s trademark will not be sufficient to distinguish the disputed domain name if the dominant impression given by the disputed domain name remains the complainant’s trademark" but also added (French readers should enjoy it): "This is even more so where “slang” - which often has a particular cultural or linguistic meaning not evident to speakers of other languages - is the added component. This would be illustrated to English speakers if they were to see the domain names or" (although this last name may have another meaning for English speakers, since Pete is a common first name in anglophone countries).

In the second decision, the Panel has a broad interpretation of the first condition of article 4: "Under the Policy, a domain name is considered “identical or confusingly similar” to a trademark if it incorporates the mark in its entirety, regardless of any other terms appended to the domain name", but finds that, in this case, the domain name is not used for commercial gain (thus the second condition is not met).

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