Registrar defends domain name from attack by lighting company.
Domain name registrar Tucows has successfully defended the domain name hinkley.com, which is part of its expansive portfolio of surnames, from lighting company Hinkley Lighting, Inc in a UDRP.
The domain name was registered in 1996 and came as part of Tucows’ acquisition of NetIdentity.
The panel ruled that Hinkley Lighting failed to show that Tucows lacked rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and failed to prove that the domain was registered and used in bad faith.
In a win for domain name investors, the panel considered the length of time it took the lighting company to file the case (laches) and referred to an earlier case involving Frank Schilling:
In particular Complainant secured the domain name hinkleylighting.com in 1996 just months prior to the time that Respondent secured the disputed domain name hinkley.com. Complainant was thus aware of the domain name registration process but for whatever reasons chose not to contact Respondent for a period in excess of fifteen years regarding the disputed domain name while the Respondent conducted its business. Although laches is not expressly stated as an affirmative defense under the UDRP it is an equitable remedy in civil proceedings and the UDRP by nature can only offer equitable relief. Laches has been recognized as a proper defense in some UDRP proceedings where the facts are particularly supportive such as when a Complainant knows or should know of the existence of the Respondent and the Respondent’s bona fide use of the corresponding disputed domain name for a substantial period of time prior to seeking to have that domain name transferred. See The New York Times Company v. Name Administration Inc… The Panel feels that this case exemplifies the type of situation where laches is properly considered as a defense.
Tucows was defended by Bret A. Fausett of AlvaradoSmith, APC.