TLDH gets a victory in fight over .eco.
The latest salvo in the fight for the .eco top level domain name has been successfully defended by Top Level Domain Holdings.
A World Intellectual Property Organization panel denied planet.ECO, LLC’s Legal Rights Objection against TLDH for .eco.
planet.ECO has a U.S. trademark for .eco, which was granted because the applicant shielded the fact that it was to be used for a top level domain name.
Panelist Luca Barbero determined that planet.ECO’s trademark was obtained primarily for getting a leg up in the new top level domain name application process, and thus did not carry favorable weight in the objection.
planet.ECO and its predecessor in interest have been fighting Top Level Domain Holdings and another applicant, Big Room, for years over .eco. It has sent cease and desist letters, requested the removal of a Facebook page and filed lawsuits in what the panel noted was “an apparent attempt to impede concurring applications for the same Top Level Domain.” TLDH, for its part, tried to get planet.ECO’s trademark canceled.
Is this the end of the planet.ECO’s legal battle over .eco? Will it now decide to fight fair-and-square within the rules of the applicant guidebook?
On the one hand, history says no. On the other hand, it might be tired of fighting a years long battle.
Antony Van Couvering, CEO of Top Level Domain Holdings, issued this statement to Domain Name Wire in response to the objection decision:
The dismissal of the Planet Dot Eco Legal Rights Objection against our .eco application was expected, but it’s gratifying nonetheless. In finding that the Planet Dot Eco’s trademark was acquired for the purpose of what is commonly known as front-running, meaning a trademark acquired specifically to game the ICANN application process, the panelist in our case noted that “the Objector’s conduct in this regard is questionable…. ” It’s comforting that (so far) WIPO panelists have consistently ruled against trademark front-runners, in contrast to the wildly inconsistent determinations coming out of the string confusion similarity panels. All of the objections filed against our applications are from other applicants, wasting our time and money and hurting the new gTLD program generally. Objectors who are relying on trademarks that were acquired specifically to knock other applicants out of the application process should realize that their strategy isn’t working, withdraw their objections, and work constructively with competing applicants to find a solution.