Company stunningly loses a domain arbitration case over HPPre.com.
With the HP Pre 3 getting ready to hit the market, HP filed a domain name dispute with National Arbitration Forum to get the domain name HPPre.com.
Here’s what happened:
-The day after HP announced its acquisition of Palm (maker of the Pre), the registrant registered the domain name
-The registrant created a splog at the domain name that grabbed stories about Palm products from sites such as Engadget
-The registrant added Adsense ads to the splog to monetize it
A slam dunk for HP, right? Amazingly, no.
I’m really scratching my head on this one as it seems to contradict just about every similar UDRP I’ve reviewed.
According to panelist Jeffrey M. Samuels, if you register a domain name to provide a “news and commentary” splog on the trademarked product and place ads on the site, you can still be making “legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name”.
Samuels wrote “Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name was not motivated substantially out of economic interest but, rather, out of an interest in providing a repository for comments regarding IT products”.
By that logic you can go out and “front run” multiple products that may be released in the future or name changes as the result of mergers, create an automated and ad-supported site on the domain, and you’ll be free and clear.
I suspect this isn’t the last we’ll here about this domain name.