It was a very complicated case.
Qatar National Tourism Council has won a UDRP it filed against the domain name VisitQatar.com.
It’s a mind-numbing case. The discussion of the first prong of UDRP, whether or not the domain is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights, clocks in at a whopping 4,842 words!
The owner of the domain is in Azerbaijan. He created a simple travel booking website on VisitQatar.com. He also obtained a U.S. trademark for “Visit Qatar”.
Despite this, the three-person panel determined that the Respondent registered the domain to target the Complainant and all of his activities were just a ruse. It questioned his credibility and wrote:
Taking all of this as a whole, the Panel reaches the conclusion the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name with a view to selling it at a substantial profit to the body responsible for promoting tourism in Qatar and which was already active under the “visitqatar” term on social media. He then proceeded cautiously and set about putting in place measures to legitimize the Disputed Domain Name and defend any UDRP proceeding. These included linking the Disputed Domain Name to a working (but rudimentary) travel related website and seeking a US trademark registration…
The three-person panel found in favor of the tourism agency.
If the UDRP was designed to handle clear cases of cybersquatting, this case was anything but.
It’s a rare loss for domain attorney John Berryhill, who represented the Respondent.