http://www.domain-disputes.com – The National Arbitration Forum recently issued decisions on three separate domain name disputes filed by Disney, Jimmy Buffett and Angels Baseball.
“We continue to see a trend towards filing complaints under the UDRP, rather than lawsuits, for these Internet conflicts,” said Kristine Dorrain, Internet Legal Counsel of the National Arbitration Forum. “We’re on the way to surpassing last year’s record-breaking domain name filings.” In 2006, the National Arbitration Forum saw its largest filing year ever, marking a 21% increase over 2005.
The following three decisions were made in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) by independent and neutral arbitrators on the National Arbitration Forum’s panel.
One of the world’s largest entertainment corporations, Disney Enterprises, Inc., submitted a complaint electronically on February 15, 2007. The National Arbitration Forum panel found that the domain name DisneyComics.com was being cybersquatted by Dayanand Kamble of who used the website to offer advertising links and products, some related to Disney’s trademarks.
The panel found that the domain name was confusingly similar to the Disney mark. In addition, the respondent used the website for commercial gain and therefore had no legitimate rights in it. Furthermore, DisneyComics.com was registered and being used in bad faith by the respondent who took advantage of the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and Disney’s famous mark. Because the complainant proved all three elements required of the ICANN Policy, the request to transfer DisneyComics.com to Disney Enterprises, Inc. was granted on March 27, 2007.
On February 22, 2007, Margaritaville Enterprises, LLC, controlled by popular singer Jimmy Buffett, submitted a complaint electronically with the National Arbitration Forum asserting legal rights to the domain names BuffettUniversity.com, JBuffett.com, JimmyBuffettUniversity.com and UniversityOfBuffett.com.
The panel concluded that the Jimmy Buffett-themed domain names were identical or confusingly similar to the registered trademark Jimmy Buffett. Furthermore, the respondent and registered owner Whapp Innovations, Inc. was using the domain names to operate pay-per-click websites and thusly for commercial gain. It was clear to the panel that the respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain names and had registered and used them in bad faith. On April 2, 2007, the panel found that the complainant had established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy and had defended successfully its trademark in domain name dispute resolution. The four domain names were ordered to be transferred to Jimmy Buffett.
On February 26, 2007, the Los Angeles Major League Baseball team, Angels Baseball, filed a complaint electronically with the National Arbitration Forum against Lee Dongyeon, the registered owner of Angels.com. The respondent, of Korea, requested the dispute be decided by a three-member panel.
The panel found that Angels.com was identical to the complainant’s ANGELS trademark. However, it was found that the Respondent had registered the ANGELS mark in Korea without any opposition from the American baseball team. Because the respondent has trademark rights in the domain name, Angels Baseball failed to prove this element. Finally, the panel found that the respondent may not have known of complainant and therefore did not register Angels.com in bad faith. Although the baseball team uses ANGELS as a trademark, it failed to prove two of three elements required under the ICANN policy to transfer a domain name. The panel denied the transfer of Angels.com to Angels Baseball on May 14, 2007.
About the National Arbitration Forum
The National Arbitration Forum, an industry leader in arbitration and mediation services for over 20 years, is an expert in the resolution of Internet-based disputes. An innovator in the industry, the National Arbitration Forum serves as one of three primary providers of the ICANN domain name dispute resolution program, resolving issues involving disputed trademarks. Over 8,000 intellectual property cases have been filed through the National Arbitration Forum’s state-of-the-art case management system. For more information, visit http://www.adrforum.com/.
For more information:
Domain Name Dispute Resolution Fact Sheet, Searchable Case Database, Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Dayanand Kamble Decision, Margaritaville Enterprise, LLC v. Whapp Innovations Decision, or Angels Baseball, L.P. v. Lee Dongyeon Decision.