Cincinnati Zoo gets CincinnatiZoo.com eleven years later
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Zoo moved slower than a turtle but will now get CincinnatiZoo.com.
It took them a while, but one of the nation’s oldest zoos now has its .com domain name.
A World Intellectual Property Organization panel has ordered the domain name CincinnattiZoo.com be transferred to the Zoological Society of Cincinnati, dba Cincinnati Zoo.
The zoo has used the domain name cincinnatizoo.org since 2001, which was the same year the .com was registered. A lot of people likely went to the .com domain, but it begs the question “why did it take so long for the zoo to file the complaint?”
Over the past year, UDRP panels have been more willing to consider delays in filing complaints as a factor in their decision.
Panelist Tony Willoughby discussed this delay (laches) in his decision, but ultimately decided in the zoo’s favor. It didn’t help that the domain owner didn’t reply to the complaint.
What is surprising to the Panel is that the Complainant has taken no action until now. It seems inconceivable to the Panel that the Complainant cannot have been aware of the Domain Name since at least September 8, 2001 when it registered its domain name,
. Checking the status of the “.com” equivalent of the Domain Name would have been an obvious step to take.
The Panel is aware that there is currently a debate among some panels as to whether “laches” is a defence to a complaint under the Policy. The Policy makes no mention of “laches” (or delay) and the Panel sees no reason to introduce such a concept. In many of the cases where panels have dismissed complaints on the basis of delay, the complaints could easily have failed on other grounds (e.g. lack of bad faith). In this case, the Respondent has not sought to argue the point and, in any event, such delay as there has been has been of no commercial disadvantage to the Respondent. The Respondent has simply had more time than it might reasonably have expected in order to derive a commercial benefit through use of the Domain Name. Moreover, it is not as if the commercial use that the Respondent has made of the Domain Name over the last 11 years has given to the Respondent any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.