Ghosts Can’t Tap Taps.com Domain Name
Friday, March 6th, 2009
Paranormal society fails to win case for Taps.com.
An arbitration panel — presumably made up of humans and not ghosts — has ruled that the The Atlantic Paranormal Society has no rights to the domain name Taps.com.
The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) operates under the web address the-atlantic-paranormal-society.com, so it’s no surprise that the organization is seeking a better domain name.
TAPS has a number of trademarks for the term, but the panel was not persuaded that the domain name was registered in bad faith. The respondent, who lives in France, claimed he had never heard of The Atlantic Paranormal Society and did not register the generic four character domain with the ghostly organization in mind.
TAPS’ case had some missing elements. Most of its trademarks on the term TAPS were filed with a first use in commerce date after the domain was registered. A couple of the trademarks had first use dates prior to the registration of taps.com, but the complainant tripped up by mentioning when those earlier uses became popular:
The other two trademark registrations, both for articles of clothing, claim dates of first use of 1995 and 1999. The Complaint, however, asserts that clothing and other merchandise depicting the TAPS mark has been sold â€œ[d]ue to the success of the GHOST HUNTERS television show.â€ The Panel presumes, therefore, that relatively little use was made of the TAPS mark prior to 2004, two years after the disputed domain name was registered.
The respondent claimed reverse domain name hijacking. The panel declined without providing explanation. Keep in mind that reverse domain name hijacking isn’t a required subject in UDRPs. Lately, panels have punted on the issue altogether.
I agree with the panel in this dispute. But is it really fair that ghosts aren’t permitted to be on UDRP panels?