Panel refuses to find in favor of complainant in case outside scope of policy.
UDRP was originally created to handle clear cut cases of cybersquatting. Since its launch panelists have stretched the scope of the policy.
But a three person panel has injected a breathe of fresh air in the decision of HRCIstudy.com. The domain owner registered the domain name for his business of providing tutoring courses for Human Resource Certification Institute exams. HRCI argued that this was cybersquatting and that it should get the domain name.
The panel found that the domain name was not registered and used in bad faith. The panel’s explanation of UDRP’s scope is clear:
The Policy was designed to deal with a relatively narrow form of dispute between trademark (and service mark) proprietors and domain name registrants, namely the deliberate registration of a domain name featuring the complainant’s trademark or a confusingly similar variant of it with a view to causing damage or disruption to the complainant or his business or unfairly exploiting the complainant’s trademark for the registrant’s own advantage.
It followed up with an explanation of why this is not a clear-cut case of cybersquatting, and why then the complaint must fail:
Is the Respondent’s use of the Domain Name in violation of the Complainant’s service mark rights in a traditional trademark sense? The Panel cannot be certain. By reference to which country’s trademark law is the question to be answered? One of the members of the Panel believes that in certain jurisdictions such a use of another’s service mark might be regarded as a fair descriptive use of the service mark to describe the educational services provided by the Respondent.
However, whether or not the Respondent’s use of the Domain Name constitutes trademark/service mark infringement is outside the scope of this proceeding. For the purposes of the Policy, if the Respondent reasonably believed that what he was doing was legitimate, it cannot be said that his registration of the Domain Name was in bad faith.
If only other panels would take note.