Company loses fight for domain name.
Cable and communications giant Charter Communications has lost a dispute over the domain name CharterBusiness.com.
The company claimed rights to the domain name based on a number of trademarks that were filed or first used in business after the domain name was registered, and that the parked page at CharterBusiness.com once showed a few links related to Charter Communications.
The panel decided that “Charter Business” is a generic term with a number of uses, and that it wasn’t registered in bad faith since it was registered a year before the complainant first used the term “Charter Business”.
For some reason in its initial filing Charter Communications neglected to mention a 2002 trademark for “Charter Business Networks”. It included it in a supplemental filing, but the panel noted that this should be of no consequence in the case:
This is partly because, said trademark has meanwhile been voluntarily cancelled by Complainant, so that it would in the Panel’s view be legally inappropriate to construe a bad faith argument on such a trademark. Moreover, even if it had not been cancelled, the Panel does not see how the term “Charter Business Networksâ€ would necessarily have inspired Respondent in registering the term “Charter Businessâ€ as it is clearly not the same expression. In addition, as one can see from Exhibit S 1-b, the logo “Charter Business Networksâ€ contains a small “Charterâ€ and a big “Business Networksâ€ which shows that the main term in this trademark & design was rather “Business Networksâ€ preceded by “Charterâ€ but not “Charter Businessâ€ followed by “Networksâ€.
In a win for people who park domain names, the panel noted that the inclusion of just a small number of potentially infringing links at one point in time isn’t enough to prove that a domain was registered in bad faith.
Interestingly, the panel inserted language suggesting Charter Communications could refile the case should the parked page show infringing links in the future:
“In any event, if Respondent in the future used the Domain Name at issue to resolve to a web site which targeted Complainant’s trademarked services, then Complainant was entitled to bring another UDRP proceeding.â€
This is generally not allowed under UDRP. Further, it would seem to not qualify that the domain was registered in bad faith if it was only later used in bad faith.
Thankfully, one of the panelists pointed out this error in a dissent.