Los Angeles Angels Lose Fight for Angels.com Domain Name

Angels lose UDRP for Angels.com.

The Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team has lost its fight for Angels.com. The organization filed for a UDRP in February claiming rights to the trademark “Angels” and that the current registrant was using it in bad faith. The Angels filed for arbitration after the owner of the domain, Lee Dongyeon of South Korea, offered to sell it for $300,000 to an unidentified agent. Dongyeon purchased the domain for roughly $25,000 in 2005.

Dongyeon defended his rights to the domain name citing the general nature of the domain Angels.com:

‘Angel,’ meaning God’s messenger, is one of the first words Respondent got to know when he began learning English as a foreign language. Respondent has been calling his two children ‘Angels.’ Respondent’s daughter calls herself ‘Daddy’s Angel.’ Respondent purchased , thinking about that familiar word, and not of ten-odd baseball players who do their job in California, U.S.A., which Respondent had never visited….It is recognized that Complainant’s mark is similar to the domain in dispute. However, the word ‘Angels’ is a general noun, having no discrimination whatsoever. Complainant only has limited rights to the trademark ‘Angels,’ not being granted exclusive possession rights to the word ‘Angels’ itself.

Dongyeon claims Angels Baseball tried to entrap him with its offer to buy the domain, since an inquiry was made through a broker not identifying himself as representing Angels Baseball. He also owns the “Angels” trademark in Korea.

Part of Angels Baseball’s claims was that the domain served ads related to baseball and tickets. The domain was parked at Sedo and Angels Baseball used the parking page as evidence. Dongyeon defended the parking page:

After purchasing the domain name, Respondent connected it to a paid search site managed by a third party, Sedoparking.com administered by Sedo.com which is based in Germany. Sedoparking.com adopts Geo-targeting system in which, when a person uses Google keyword search ads, different search results display depending on which country the user resides in, according to Google’s policy.

When domain owners choose several keywords relating to their web pages, the sites of advertisers who have paid for those matching keywords get linked to the domain pages. Where linked ad sites vary depending on where (in which country) Internet users are. Due to these features of Geo-targeting system of Google, Respondent had never known that Respondent’s web page contains links relating to Complainant before Respondent received the notice of dispute. Respondent became aware of the existence of the links to ticket-selling sites of the baseball games that Complainant provides only after Respondent viewed the web page provided as evidence material by Complainant.

The panel found in Dongyeon’s favor:

The Panel finds that the domain name in dispute is identical to the ANGELS marks, in which Complainant has rights. The Panel further finds that before receiving notice of the present dispute Respondent registered the ANGELS service mark in Korea, which registration gives Respondent a title to the domain name. Accordingly, the Panel found that Respondent has rights or legitimate interest in the domain name. Finally, the Panel finds that Complainant failed to prove that Respondent was aware of Complainant or Complainant’s mark at the time of the registration of the domain name in dispute.

By filing a UDRP, the Angels were trying to spend a few thousand dollars to get the domain rather than a few hundred thousand. By losing, they might end up paying a few million. Such is UDRP roulette.


  1. says

    I hate companies who try to reverse hijack domain names. I’m glad they lost. It’s good to see a UDRP actually go well. The last few months had been disheartening with the increase of companies claiming rights to names they know they have no rights to.

  2. says

    I think that this story has a right and happy ending. I sell tickets including Angels tickets at my website but the bottom line is that the little guys have legal rights as well and there is no reason to be a push over to these larger corporations like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Hopefully this will become a million dollar sale for the little guy someday and I hope this helps to set an example out there.

  3. John says

    How very sad. This guy doesn’t use the domain (go take a look at it; there is no content except gloating about his UDRP win), but he seems very proud that he’s keeping someone else from using it. Very different from the behavior I would expect of somebody who believes in “angels.”

  4. Austin says

    To John, Well you really don’t know what he is doing or thinking, other than what your little heart assumes, right?

  5. says

    At what point does a government allow a private for-profit company to own a word out of the dictionary. I’m glad that the system works for once.

  6. Hank says

    I can’t believe you people are on this pathetic worm’s side. He keeps the page up simply out of spite, there is nothing valuable there. The Angels acquired the domain name through the broker and I shouldn’t be having to type angelsbaseball.com everytime. I hope all you little guys stay at the bottom.

  7. nickkkkk says

    the angels baseball team deserves the website name angels.com
    did you even see what angels.com is?
    it just says angels.com is not for sale
    what is the point
    well skrew angels.com millions of people will be expecting to go on the baseball teams website and see this

  8. Andrew says

    Nick, you couldn’t be more right. I mean, there’s this empty lot down the street from me. It’s full of weeds and hasn’t been built on in 50 years! I should totally be able to take that lot from the current owner and build a new house on it.

  9. Walt says

    Andrew, I understand what you’re trying to get at with your sarcasm but, to be honest, I don’t agree with you. I wouldn’t say the LA Angels should get the domain for free, but for a reasonable price based on how many views the site gets. If that empty lot was on Microsoft Lane, I’m sure Microsoft would buy it for a more than reasonable price. If the owner of Angels.com was actually using the domain for something productive, my views would probably be different. But seeing a great domain name go to waste just bothers me. I understand what the owner is trying to do with the domain; he is holding onto it while the price rises until he sees fit to sell it. I must add in, the web is not a stock market, and if the owner is not going to use the domain, then the LA Angels should be able to buy it off him for a reasonable price.

  10. Andrew says

    Walt, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. The owner has it, the Angels have no inherent right to it, so it’s up to him to decide if he wants to sell.

  11. Sam Walton says

    The owner clearly had profit in mind when buying the site for $25,000 dollars. It’s been 3 years or so, wouldn’t he have done something productive with it?

    Who is the one who called the owner a “little guy?” How many little guys buy domain property at $25,000?

  12. Mike says

    I have a neighbor with a very nice Lincoln Town Car. He NEVER uses it for anything. The only miles on are the ones he used 6 years ago when he bought it to get it home from the dealer.

    That car would benefit me much more than him because I would be willing to actually use the car. I think I shall sue him for rights to the beautiful car that he is unwilling to use because I don’t think I should have to pay what might be fair value for it if I want it.

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