Panel orders three-letter domain to be transferred to Mexican bus company.
A three-member World Intellectual Property Organization panel has ordered the domain name Ado.com transferred in a bad UDRP decision.
The domain name is owned by Francois Carrillo, the owner of domain blog aggregator Domaining.com. Carrillo also owns Catchy.com, where he sells many three and four letter domain names.
The decision was flawed.
Among the judgments the panel made is that $500,000 was too much to ask for the domain name because Carillo purchased it for $27,500. Not only is the purchase price incorrect (Carrillo also transferred the domain Koz.com to the seller as part of the deal), but panels shouldn’t generally get involved with determining what a fair price is for a domain.
One of the more forehead-slapping claims by the complainant, a Mexican bus company called Ado that uses Ado.com.mx, relates to this price. It claims that the $500,000 asking price is “outrageous when compared to the other domain names offered for sale or rent on the “Catchy.com” website”, according to the decision. It gives five examples:
ado.com 500,000 USD
kuve.com 45,000 USD
paxe.com 50,000 USD
amim.com 20,000 USD
zill.com 80,000 USD
Notice anything different about Ado.com and the other domains? Perhaps the length?
Indeed, it makes perfect sense that someone asking $80,000 for Zill.com would ask $500,000 for Ado.com. But the panelists swallowed this statement about the price as true.
Another bad claim that was accepted by the panel was that the Ado.com logo was similar to that of the bus company. While both logos are red and include the same letters (for obvious reasons), there is little similarity.
The complainant pointed to other supposed instances of logos on Catchy.com that were similar to logos of trademarks. It seems that the complainant cherry-picked these. Even at that, it did a poor job. Consider this “evidence” of similar logos:
Clearly, the logo designer for Coru.com borrowed significant elements from the BOINC logo (or maybe the other way around). But these names aren’t at all similar, so what point does it prove about trying to target trademarks?
What you have here is a panel appraising a domain name and having little understanding (or giving little attention to) the legitimate business model of the domain owner and the context under which he acquired the domain.
The WIPO panelists were Christopher S. Gibson, William R. Towns and David H. Bernstein.