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1986 Domain Name Octopus.com Could Be Lost in UDRP

Ads on Octopus.com will shift burden to domain name owner.

A travel company has filed a UDRP against Octopus.com, which was originally registered in 1986.

OctopusTravel.com operator Octopustravel Group Limited filed the complaint against a Singapore man.

Octopus.com was originally registered in 1986 but transferred to the current registrant no earlier than 2009. Octopustravel Group filed for a U.S. trademark for “OctopusTravel” in 2000 that was granted in 2002.

In 2006 the previous owner put up a web site about the the animal the name refers to.

The problem lies in ads that were added to the site in 2009. Ads served by Google and Adbrite are for travel bookings.

These ads are viewed in the United States, so it’s possible the owner of the domain name isn’t aware of their existence. It’s also possible that the advertisers specifically bid on the web site at the advertisers.

Still, this creates a problem for the domain’s owner.

But even if a UDRP panel finds that the domain was was registered to target OctopusTravel, the latter will still have to prove that it has rights to the mark “Octopus” for travel. Rights in OctopusTravel alone will not be enough.

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  1. Joey Starkey

    Thats kind of a push don’t you think? I don’t think of Travel when I think of Octopus that is for sure. If I was the domain owner I would be sure to file for reverse hijacking for sure.

  2. Favorite Domains

    Thanks for the info. I understand the domain is for sale via flippa.com?

    Domain owner should not be responsible for the ads displayed by adsense or other related contextual ad networkds.

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ FavoriteDomains – it looks like it was listed at Flippa but that listing has been suspended.

      According to that listing the domain gets 16k visitors per month. It earns about $100/month from Adsense.

  3. Meyer

    If one owns the land that is leased to a
    billboard company, should the land owner be
    included if the billboard company violated
    local laws for slander, copyright
    infringement, obscenities, drugs, etc.

    Is a domain owner the land owner or the
    billboard company?

  4. Bret Moore

    Uh, even if he’s got ads on there now, the domain was not ORIGINALLY registered in bad faith in 1986. That’s the plain reading of the UDRP: “registered and used in bad faith.” Not renewed.

    On this topic, see WIPO: 3.7 Does the renewal of the registration of a domain name amount to a registration for the purposes of determining whether the domain name was registered in bad faith?

    Consensus view: While the transfer of a domain name to a third party does amount to a new registration, a mere renewal of a domain name does not amount to registration for the purposes of determining bad faith. Registration in bad faith must occur at the time the current registrant took possession of the domain name.

    Relevant decisions:
    Substance Abuse Management, Inc. v. Screen Actors Modesl [sic] International, Inc. (SAMI)
    D2001-0782, Denied
    PAA Laboratories GmbH v. Printing Arts America D2004-0338, Denied

  5. Gazzip

    “The problem lies in ads that were added to the site in 2009. Ads served by Google and Adbrite are for travel bookings.”

    Have you looked at it recently?, its a bizarre cross breed between Octopus info and a Travel booking website lol

    Anything to do with Travel and I think he can kiss goodbye to that one unless he has the best lawyers on the planet.

    It may have worked for an Elephant but does’nt mean it’ll work for an Octopus 😉

  6. Mansour

    Have and have not is the difference. The coalition for trademark which includes the very rich and powerful is what rules, like in any third world country. This will change in the future when those who own domain names and don’t have more than $100 do the same as the Egyptians did. They could not take it anymore. ICANN will then listen to them, since there are over 200 million domain names registered, with less than 300,000 with trademarks. There is nothing wrong with registering a domain name for future use or profit. People bought land as an investment for 10’s of thousands of years. What’s good for real estate should be good for domain names. Until today, you see 4 gas stations at the intersection. They all compete against each other, and no one claims that the other guy has no right to have the same business close by. I believe that the rules of the trademark should only protect those who create their own mark, like Coca-Cola or Xerox. Those are not English dictionary words. This a mark for a product or service that we should all respect, but for Apple to take the word ‘apple’ out of circulation or ‘Godaddy’ to take the word ‘daddy’ or Amazon to take the word ‘amazon’ is ridiculous to happen. As to the domain name octopus.com, the complainant should be ashamed of himself. It doesn’t matter what the owner of the domain name did or did not do. The whole motivation for the complainant is to save money and snatch someone else’s domain name for free, saving the 5 to 6 figure price they would have to pay for it on the free market. What really upsets me is that no big players except Andrew DomainNamewire.com have voiced concern regarding the UDRP. Sedo, DNJournal, Afternic and many others are hiding in their own rabbit holes making all of this big money, very scared of trademark owners, but they don’t mind selling domain names that, however they are infringing, are only infringing on the small guy who has no trademark. An example of that – we own the domain name and the trademark domainsnext.com. Sedo has the domain name domainsnext.eu for sale, but I do not wish to spend a couple thousand dollars to get this domain name through UDRP. In the meantime if I owned the domain name amazon.cc and tried to sell it through Sedo, they would never accept it since Amazon.com is a well-known trademark. Maybe someday soon the small guys will have a voice sometime somehow soon.

  7. Mel Bergdorf

    @ Mansour

    Generic and/or descriptive domains that infringe upon arbitrary and fanciful trademarks, as related to goods and services that have nothing to do with the generic or descriptive meaning is an infringement of an “inherently distinct” trademark

    Your long comment indicates a lack of basic understanding of the policy reasons behind trademark law

  8. Meyer

    Quote –
    “Sedo, DNJournal, Afternic and many others are hiding in their own rabbit holes making all of this big money, very scared of trademark owners,”

    I’m not following the rant above.
    We realize Sedo and Afternic receive
    commission for selling domains.

    But, why are you including DNJ?
    All DNJ does is report domain sales.
    Just like DNW, DNN and Berkins.
    DNJ does not have any direct financial
    connection to the sale of a domain.

  9. Some Guy

    They shot themselves in the foot by adding a travel booking widget to the site. The animal info is obviously a thinly veiled cover against UDRP. They are aware of why those ads are showing and what the traffic is looking for.

    @Bret Your 2nd comment is correct. It is bad faith if he acquired it in bad faith.

  10. Neil @ DomainnamesIndex

    The ads could be served and different from what is seen in Singapore and the owner might “know nothing” but having a subpage called octopus.com/travel (about how octopuses move including the heading “Flying”) is stretching credulity just a little too far, in my humble opinion.

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