In a WIPO case decided July 25th by sole panelist James A. Barker, he stated “The Panel is in little doubt that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, and has registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith. Among other things, the Respondent has provided no evidence of having rights or legitimate interests, despite the Complainant’s case against it. The Respondent also has a history of cybersquatting. The content of the Respondent’s websites strongly suggest that the Respondent was motivated to register the disputed domain names in an attempt to exploit confusion with the Complainant’s marks. The Panel notes that this decision should not be read as sanctioning the Respondent’s conduct in any general sense.”
Based on the above, one would think that the domain names <points-gatineau-ottawa.com>, <w-atlanta-buckhead.com>, <w-atlanta-perimeter-center.com>, <w-dallas-victory.com>, <w-istanbul.com>, <w-new-york-the-court.com>, <w-orleans-french-quarter.com>, and <w-san-diego.com>, all as you can see, are hyphenated, would be transferred to Starwood. BUT, the panelist found that there is nothing distinctive about the letter W and For somewhat similar reasons to those outlined above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <points-gatineau-ottawa.com> is not confusingly similar to the Complainant’s FOUR POINTS. This disputed domain name contains only a portion of the Complainant’s mark (the word “points”) which is clearly descriptive. The remainder of the disputed domain name is a geographic term which is not part of the Complainant’s mark. The Complainant’s mark comprises a conjoined term which, as such, may be capable of distinction in a trademark sense. But it is another thing entirely to show confusing similarity because a common term incorporated in a mark is also incorporated in a disputed domain name. The Panel considers there is insufficient evidence to establish that the common term “points”, taken by itself, would likely be confused with the Complainant’s mark as it is used in the disputed domain name.
The case is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., The Sheraton LLC, Sheraton International Inc. v. Unister GmbH, Daniel Kirchhof, Case No. D2011-0781, and can be found at http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2011-0781.
So, it appears that sometimes the cybersquatters get lucky and keep their domains even without responding to a UDRP.
Thanks for “listening”
The Neu Facebook