TES.CO is confusingly similar to TESCO, and soon the top level domain will play a bigger role in domain disputes.
In July I wrote about grocery chain TESCO filing a dispute against the domain name tes.co. A decision has now been rendered.
UDRP panels typically disregard the top level domain name when it comes to determining if a domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark. If .co was ignored in this case, then TESCO would fail as they’d have to argue that TES is confusingly similar to TESCO.
But, especially in the case of possible “domain hacks”, UDRP panels have considered the top level domain in determining confusion.
That’s what happened with the three member panel for tes.co. The panel determined that Tes.co is confusingly similar to TESCO. It also found that the person who registered the domain did so in bad faith.
I’ll give Mat Feakins style points for how he defended the domain name. First, he set up an Amazon affiliate store with the name “The Entertainment Shopping Company”. Then he forwarded the domain name to his solar energy site, Solar IQ, and said TES stood for “Thermal Energy Storage” and The Energy Supply / Service Company.
The panel didn’t buy it.
Although other panels have considered the TLD in a domain hack, I believe this will be expanded further in the future.
Will a panel look at a case for apple.computer differently than one for apple.food? It would make sense for them to do so.