Eyewear company’s dates don’t add up.
Zenni Optical, LLC, a retailer of eyeglasses, has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking by a World Intellectual Property Organization arbitrator.
Zenni Optical filed the complaint to get the domain name Zenni.com. But its dates didn’t add up. Zenni.com was registered in May 2002. But Zenni Optical didn’t register trademarks in Zenni and Zenni Optical until 2008 and 2009 respectively.
That’s where things get interesting. In a supplemental filing, Zenni Optical submitted a trademark licensing agreement between the trademark holder (which was apparently an individual) and Zenni Optical. That licensing agreement appeared to have been signed in September 2002, but referred to trademarks not obtained until 2008 and 2009. How could that be? Here’s what the arbitrator wrote:
…the license agreement is purportedly signed and dated in September 2002. At the same time, the agreement refers to the marks registered in 2008 and 2009. From this alone, it is self-evident that the agreement cannot, in fact, have been made in September 2002 but that, at the earliest, it must have been made after the registration of the second trademark in March 2009. The agreement could conceivably have been made any time up until the Complainant’s supplemental submission. Neither the Complainant nor the terms of the license agreement indicate when it was made. As such, it is not possible for the Panel to rule out the possibility that it was made after the filing of the Complaint.
Hmm. What makes the situation even more interesting is that, even if the trademarks were first used in September 2002, that would still be after the domain name was registered.