Company abused policy to try to deprive rightful owner of CountryGirl.com domain name.
LML Investments, owner of Country Girl branded clothing sold at CountryGirlStore.com, has been admonished by a panel for abusing the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
The company filed a cybersquatting complaint against PA Gordon, owner of CountryGirl.com. The case was filed despite Gordon having owned the domain name since well before LML Investments claims any trademark rights in the “Country Girl” mark.
A three person National Arbitration Forum panel determined that LML Investments did not make even a prima facie case in support of its arguments that Gordon lacked rights and legitimate interests in the domain name. It was also unable to prove he registered the domain in bad faith, given that he registered it before the trademark rights.
The panel wrote:
The Panel finds that Complainant and its counsel have acted inappropriately and in reverse domain name hijacking by initiating this dispute and continuing with it following the delivery of the Response by Respondent. Complainant is attempting to deprive Respondent, the rightful, registered holder of the disputed domain name, of its rights to use the disputed domain name. Complainant and its counsel should have known that they would be unable to prove at least two of the elements needed to prevail. Even a cursory review of the URDP and UDRP decisions would have alerted Complainant and its counsel to the fact that its case was devoid of merit.
LML Investments was represented by Continental Enterprises, an intellectual property firm that claims on its website to “use non-traditional strategies to combat infringers domestically and around the globe to provide effective solutions for seemingly intractable IP problems.”
Gordon isn’t the only person the company has gone after in trying to enforce its “Country Girl” trademark.
Ari Goldberger of ESQwire.com represented the domain name owner.