Hardware cooperative makes shaky claims in UDRP against webhosting company.
I think the best way to start this UDRP analysis is with a couple screenshots.
First, here’s a shot of hardware cooperative True Value’s web site:
Now, here’s a screenshot for TrueValueWeb.com, which offers webhosting and internet technology services:
True Value filed a UDRP against TrueValueWeb.com and made some head-scratching assertions.
First, it claims that TrueValueWeb.com might cause confusion because it offers services similar to those of the hardware cooperative.
Selling saws and air conditioners is similar to selling webhosting?
True Value made this claim based on services it offers to its cooperative members, who are the many store owners using the True Value name. That seems like quite a stretch.
Second, True Value claimed that “the website found at the name presents the same coloration (i.e., red, black and white) – in connection with the term “TRUE VALUE WEB” – as is utilized by Complainant with respect to its mark.”
After comparing the screenshots (including ones from before the complaint was filed), I simply can’t figure out what this claim is based on.
Moreover, it appears True Value may have made a cease & desist mistake all to common in the rapid fire C&D business: it sent the wrong C&D letter.
According to the respondent, he received a cease & desist letter from True Value but it referenced a completely different domain name than TrueValueWeb.com.
The panel found that True Value failed to prove that the respondent didn’t have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. Although it said it was not issuing an opinion on laches, it did write:
…the seven-and-a-half-year lag between disputed domain name registration and filing of the Complaint simply bolstered Respondent’s contention that he operates the name in connection with a bona fide offering of services.
Indeed, if there ever is a case to apply the doctrine of laches, its where a legitimate business would be destroyed by the complainant’s tardy actions.
True Value was represented by Merchant & Gould P.C. The respondent was represented by Bret S. Moore.