In a 3 person panel decision, the UDRP Claim for Kitchn.com was denied at WIPO. In the case of Kitchn Norge AS v. Abdulbasit Makrani, Case No. D2016-1189, a Norwegian company that held the Norwegian trademark for KITCH’N was too limited to a specific area (Norway and Sweden) as to apply to Bad Faith on the part of the Respondent Abdulbasit Makrani. Here are some of the relevant excerpts of the decision:
The Panel notes that, at the time the disputed domain name was acquired by the Respondent, the Complainant had been trading in Norway and Sweden for some 18 years, had been the proprietor of the Norwegian trademark No. 221252 for KITCH’N for some 11 years and also appears to have been selling through the Internet for almost 2 years.
There is no evidence that the Complainant’s trademark might have been used outside Norway and Sweden and the Complainant’s website clearly targets consumers located in Norway since it is entirely in Norwegian. Moreover, a Google search for “kitchn” shows several results unrelated to the Complainant and its mark.
The records indicate that the Respondent is a professional domain name registrant and acquired the disputed domain name through an automated process immediately after the original registration lapsed. As highlighted in previous cases, the automated nature of the acquisition cannot be an excuse for turning a blind eye to trademark rights, since otherwise it would be the “perfect shield for abusive registrations”. See Research In Motion Limited v. Privacy Locked LLC/Nat Collicot, WIPO Case No. D2009-0320.
However, particularly given the nature of the disputed domain name as a contraction of the dictionary term “kitchen”, the Panel finds that nothing in the case file indicates that the Respondent had ever known of the Complainant’s rights or that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name to capitalize on the Complainant’s mark.
This finding is supported by the fact that the use of the disputed domain name does not show an intention to target the Complainant or its competitors, as the links displayed on the website published at the disputed domain name are mainly related to cooking recipes and not to the Complainant’s trademark and products.
Instead, in the case at hand, there is no evidence that the Respondent might have registered the disputed domain name with the intention to sell it to the Complainant or to trade off the Complainant’s mark. Therefore, the Panel also finds that the Respondent’s refusal of the Complainant’s offer for the disputed domain name and his request of a higher sum do not amount to bad faith.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has failed to demonstrate that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent was represented in this case by the Law Office of Howard Neu, P.A.
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