iLounge.com tries to get iLoungeOC.com from its neighbor.
Here’s an interesting domain arbitration case in Orange County.
iLounge.com, a web site about iPod and iPhone accessories and software, started getting communications that were meant for a restaurant and bar also in Orange County called iLounge Orange County. The restaurant uses the domain name iLoungeOC.com. iLounge.com lost the case, as it was clear the restaurant was using the domain name for a legitimate purpose.
What was interesting about this case is that iLounge.com made many arguments that are the exact opposite of what you typically see in a UDRP. For example, in the arbitrator’s words:
Complainant contends that Respondent is not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the infringing domain name and that it is clearly using the infringing domain name for a commercial purpose, namely offering, advertising and promoting Respondent’s business.
How often do you see a complainant saying the respondent is using the domain name for its business? Rarely, since that basically says it’s being used for a legitimate purpose. It’s not like the restaurant is anything related to its business, either. But the complainant argued that the restaurant might offer internet service, so it was similar to its content portal. That’s outrageous.
I also found the panelist’s wording about the complainant’s allegation that iLoungeOC.com was confusingly similar to iLounge.com interesting:
Complainant argues that when a registered domain name differs from a mark by only adding letters, it is considered to be identical or confusingly similar to that mark.
Read that again.
Perhaps it was unfortunate wording by the arbitrator, but who in the world would say “your domain is like my trademark, except it has more letters”. That’s like Apple Computer going after the owner of a fruit site ApplesinTexas.com because it’s Apple’s trademark with just “more letters”.
The respondent rightfully pointed out that the only confusion between the two brands is people thinking iLounge.com is affiliated with iLoungeOC.com. iLounge.com received communications meant for the restaurant, but the restaurant didn’t receive anything meant for the iLounge.com web site.
You can read the full decision here.