Part of brand is in domain names, but you have to look closely for it.
I was rather confused a couple months ago when I saw fashion designer Philipp Plein filed UDRPs against peopleincasinos.com and supportpeopleinneed.org.
Both sites featured clothing that the sites claimed was authentic Philipp Plein clothing.
But what did these domain names have to do with Philipp Plein?
Well, take a look at the domain names again:
The person who created the sites apparently chose domain names that embedded the Plein name with the hope of getting better search engine results. (I’m somewhat skeptical that this would help.)
Is this enough to pass the confusing similarity requirement in UDRP?
The complainant made the case that the domains created “technological confusion”, but did not provide evidence to that effect.
Even if it had, panelist David J.A. Cairns indicated he would have denied confusing similarity:
Further, a consequence of the Complainant’s argument is that any trademark appearing in a domain name would satisfy the confusing similarity test on the basis that it would be recognized within the domain name by search engines. On this basis, to take the example from WIPO Overview 2.0 paragraph 1.2, the domain name
would be confusingly similar to the trademark HEAT. This result changes the current understanding of confusing similarity, and suggests that even if confusion by technological effect were accepted, visual or aural characteristics cannot be disregarded entirely. In this case, the Complainant has also failed to satisfy paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy on the grounds that that there is no visual or aural confusion at all in the present case between the PLEIN trademark and the disputed domain name. It is not sufficient that the trademark is only visible when the viewer is told it is definitely there.
Cases like these weren’t made for UDRP.