In a new case decided on June 30th at the National Arbitration Forum, Sole Panelist Carolyn Johnson Denied the Claim even though no response was filed. In the case of Sai Maa v. Domain Finance Inc. / Minakumari Periasamy, found at http://domains.adrforum.com/domains/decisions/1390126.htm, Complainant, Sai Maa, is a famous author, speaker, and teacher. Complainant has used its proper name since at least 2000 in support of its books and educational materials. Complainant’s books and educational materials are distributed globally under its SAI MAA mark.
Respondent, Domain Finance Inc. / Minakumari Periasamy, registered the disputed domain name April 29, 1998. The disputed domain name resolves to a commercial links site offering links to third-party websites unrelated to Complainant’s own enterprises. Respondent presumably collects click-through fees from the linked sites for each Internet user diverted.
The Panelist found that Respondent was gaining commercially from the use of the confusingly similar domain name which constituted bad faith use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). Although Complainant established bad faith use, in this case, the Panel found that Complainant’s rights by her own description vested in the SAI MAA mark in 2000 at the earliest. According to the WHOIS information, the disputed domain name was registered April 29, 1998; two years before Complainant was able to establish its common law rights in the mark. Because Respondent registered the disputed domain name before Complainant shows that she had established common law rights in her protected mark. The Panel found that Complainant failed to show that Respondent registered the domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
The Panel found that while Complainant established bad faith USE by Respondent of the domain name, Complainant failed to show bad faith REGISTRATION under the elements of ICANN Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
This is refreshing as some previous Panels have inferred that if the Domain Name is being USED in Bad Faith, that this is sufficient to find for the Claimant.
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