University of Texas Loses Domain Name Dispute
Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
University loses fight for TexasSports.org.
I have to admit I’m a bit ashamed of my alma mater today. The University of Texas lost a UDRP case against Kevin Ham’s Vertical Axis for the domain name TexasSports.org.
The University’s official athletics site is TexasSports.com, and it was concerned that some people might type in .org instead of .com. This is plausible given that it’s a non-profit. TexasSports.com gets over 300,000 visits per month.
Still, the University made quite a stretch claiming trademark rights to the generic term “Texas Sports”. It based this claim on the University’s trademark to “Texas”. But, as Vertical Axis pointed out through attorney Ari Goldberger, this doesn’t give UT exclusive rights to anything attached to “Texas”, especially something generic.
I think a better strategy for UT’s attorney, William G. Barber, would have been to argue for some sort of common law rights in “Texas Sports”. That would still be a long shot, though.
While finding that the domain name wasn’t confusingly similar to UT’s mark, the panelist declined to find reverse domain name hijacking.
Barber has successfully brought many other UDRP claims on behalf of UT and Baylor University in Waco, Texas.