Munchkin fights woman who incorporated “Munchkins” in her domain name.
Baby products company Munchkin has lost its attempt to get the domain name MamasandMunchkins.com from a “working mother of 5 small children”.
Munchkin, which operates at the web site Munchkin.com, argued that Teri VanDerLaan’s domain name “fully incorporatesâ€ Munchkin’s trademark.
So what happens when a big company goes after a working mother of 5 just trying to make a living? For once, I think the respondent’s decision to not use a lawyer was a smart move. She wrote a compelling response to show she was being bullied:
. . .the name MUNCHKINS itself is a plural and means children (as in the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz movie fame). I am a working mother of 5 small children running a very small online business out of my home. I certainly do not feel like a threat to this multi million dollar organization. I am familiar with the Munchkin line but I do not believe that the legal name of my business (Mamas and Munchkins,LLC) nor my website (www.mamasandmunchkins.com) breaks the law or infringes on their business. At no time has anyone EVER mistaken me for them by contacti! ng [sic] me to ask if I carry their products. I was not aware that a nickname for children (AKA Munchkins) could be a trademark violation. When the company was legally filed my lawyer checked for trademark violations at that time and saw no conflict with the word Munchkins. I will respect your decision at the WIPO and I look forward to hearing from you. I have no problem changing landing page or metatag words that are inadvertently listed as munchkin versus munchkins but I would prefer to keep the corporation name and website name that I’ve worked hard for years to build customer loyalty to so that I can continue to support my large family.â€
What arbitrator could rule against this respondent?
But perhaps VanDerLaan is more on top of things that it seems. Her web site has a copyright notice of 2010, wheras Munchkin.com still shows 2008.