Site with Google Adsense ads still may qualify for “non-commercial”, UDRP panel rules.
The owner of SamsungHub.com can keep his domain name, a WIPO panel has ruled in a UDRP brought by tech giant Samsung.
Kunal Gangar began using the domain name in 2006. In 2011 Samsung released an app called SamsungHub, so Gangar registered a new domain – SammyHub.com – and redirected SamsungHub.com to it.
Although Ganger has Google Adsense ads on the SammyHug.com web site (and had them on the SamsungHub.com site), the panel ruled that limited commercial activity on a fan site doesn’t necessarily mean a domain name was commercial in nature.
The panel also noted that it considered the fact that the domain name was registered seven years ago and used extensively since then in coming to its conclusion. In other words, it considered the doctrine of laches.
I find the decision that the site was “non-commercial” a bit odd, given that the site is clearly a commercial site designed to earn advertising revenue. That said, the panel notes that the UDRP was created for clear-cut cases of cybersquatting, and that perhaps a more appropriate venue for Samsung’s claims may be the courts. From that perspective, the panel decided wisely.
When in doubt, throw it out.