When is a typo not a typo?
Is eHelper.com a typo of EdHelper.com? Yes, according to National Arbitration Forum panelist Sandra J. Franklin.
In a decision handed down yesterday, Franklin awarded the domain name eHelper.com to the owner of EdHelper.com. It’s a strange decision since eHelper is fundamentally different than EdHelper. It’s not a typo in the same way EdHlper.com would be, and eHelper.com is a legitimate, stand alone name for a possible web site. It’s like saying that Domains.com is a typo of iDomains.com because it omits one letter. Or Bay.com is a typo of eBay.com.
Even in the examples of typosquatting cases Franklin gives, they were all clear cut cases, whereas this is completely different. In her decision, she wrote:
Complainant argues that Respondent’s ehelper.com domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s EDHELPER mark pursuant to Policy 4(a)(i). Respondent’s disputed domain name merely deletes a letter from Complainant’s mark and adds the generic top-level domain name (“gTLDâ€) extension “.com.â€ The Panel finds that the mere deletion of a letter from Complainant’s EDHELPER mark results in confusing similarity for the purposes of Policy 4(a)(i). See Guinness UDV N. Am., Inc. v. Dallas Internet Servs., D2001-1055 (WIPO Dec. 12, 2001) (finding the smirnof.com domain name confusingly similar to the complainant’s SMIRNOFF mark because merely removing the letter “fâ€ from the mark was insignificant); see also Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. v. Party Night, Inc., FA 114546 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 23, 2002) (finding that the neimanmacus.com domain name was a simple misspelling of the complainant’s NEIMAN MARCUS mark and was a classic example of typosquatting, which was evidence that the domain name was confusingly similar to the mark).
It didn’t help that the owner of eHelper.com didn’t respond to the complaint. But finding typosquatting in this case is quite a stretch. Perhaps it’s an example cut-and-paste arbitration.