Panel finds in domain investor’s favor over AguaDulce.com domain.
Pakistani Domain name investor AbdulBasit Makrani has successfully defended his domain AguaDulce.com in a UDRP and the panel found reverse domain name hijacking.
Sociedad Puerto Industrial Aguadulce S.A. operates a marine terminal in Colombia. It uses the domain name PuertoaAguaDulce.com.
Agua Dolce translates to “Sweet Water” in Spanish.
The Complainant made a number of arguments in its case. One of these was a search engine printout showing its website in response to a search for aguadulce. But the result was way down the SERPs and there are lots of other sites that show up for the term. The panel wrote:
What both Parties’ searches do demonstrate, taken together, is that a range of alternative meanings and possible uses of the term “aguadulce” (or “agua dulce”) exist, the majority of which do not denote the Complainant or its mark. There is considerable emphasis to be found on these alternative meanings or uses in the Respondent’s search and this provides adequate support for his case that he was not aware of the Complainant when he came to register the disputed domain name and that he did so to take advantage of its dictionary meaning.
This reminds me of something John Berryhill said on DNW Podcast #244: Google is sometimes the best trademark database.
The Complainant also pointed out that the Respondent has been on the receiving end of three UDRP filings at WIPO, where the instant case was filed. It neglected to point out that the Respondent won two of the cases (and didn’t respond to the first).
The port owner also said the Respondent has been subject to proceedings at another UDRP administrator, but the panelists could not find any such cases.
Makrani said this was a case of a company trying to buy a domain and then resorting to UDRP after it didn’t like the price.
The majority found that the case constitutes reverse domain name hijacking.
Howard Neu represented AbdulBasit Makrani. Brigard & Castro represented the Complainant.
Writing about the case on his blog, Makrani stated that the Complainant’s law firm “are bunch of morons and Reverse Domain Name Hijackers who not only mislead the panelists by falsely mentioning that I was involved in other cases whereas they failed to provide any such reference but they also concealed the entire proceedings and the final outcome of my last two UDRP decisions which went completely in my favor.”