Same panelist. Similar domains. Different result, even on confusing similarity.
The producers of the new Atlas Shrugged Movie filed two UDRP cases with World Intellectual Property Forum for essentially the same domains: AtlasShruggedMovie.com and AtlasShruggedMovies.com.
Oh, and the same panelist (Richard G. Lyon) heard both cases. And decided them within a day of each other.
The facts in the cases differed slightly around the intent of the registrant and when the domains were registered, but I’m sure the movie producers are still puzzled.
The first issue in both cases was that the movie producer’s lawyers screwed up, according to Lyon. Loeb & Loeb, LLP claimed that the complainant had been assigned rights to Atlas Shrugged for movies back in 1992 but provided no evidence of this.
What’s interesting is that in the movieS case, Lyon found that the complainant had common law rights in the name because of its promotion expenditures. In the movie (singular) case Lyon said it wasn’t clear if the complainant had common law rights but that it didn’t matter since it failed on another aspect of the case.
So the same panelist rules in one case that the complainant has common law rights and in another that it is indeterminate. Hmm.
Beyond that, the big differences come down to the date of registration (2004 for Movie and 2009 for Movies) and what the person claimed they intended to do with the domains. The one that won registered his domain in 2004 and said he frequently critiques and satirizes commercials and movies. The domain owner that lost included porn links on the domain name and registered it in 2009. And the one that won hired a lawyer.
Lyon suggests that since movie plans for Atlas Shrugged weren’t widely known in 2004, the domain registrant of AtlasShruggedMovie.com did not specifically target it. He goes through a lengthy rationale, but I’m still surprised. I guess had I registered HarryPotterMovie.com shortly after the book came out, didn’t do anything with it, but didn’t offer it for sale, then I’d be OK.
This is just a bizarre pair of cases all around.