Santa Monica loses UDRP for IAmSantaMonica.com.
Remember that guy Stephen Webb, who started showing up at domain conferences a couple years ago promoting his “Iamcityname.com” and “WeArecityname.com” domain names? He had a bit of success, striking deals with a couple cities and even selling IAmSeattle.com to the Space Needle in Seattle.
But one former client apparently didn’t understand the meaning of “lease”.
Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau entered into a lease with Webb’s company for the domain name IAmSantaMonica.com. When the lease ran out and Santa Monica didn’t renew it, Webb rightfully removed the visitor bureau’s web site. He offered to extend the lease or sell the domain name. It’s kind of like when an apartment lease runs out how the landlord gets to keep the apartment and rent it to someone else.
Claiming trademark rights to the domain, Santa Monica filed a UDRP with National Arbitration Forum.
In a split decision, the panel decided in Webb’s favor. Amazingly, the panel decided that Santa Monica had trademark rights to was confusingly similar to “I Am Santa Monica”. This seems to fly in the face of everything I’ve seen with geographical locations, and I hardly find “I am Santa Monica” to be confusingly similar. It’s very different from “IamCocaCola.com”.
Certainly Webb’s registration of thousands of similar domain names also shows that he wasn’t targeting Santa Monica.
You can read the decision here.
This article edited for clarity; see comment #20.