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Is this trademark infringement or cybersquatting?

Confusing similarity might be a stretch.

Blue image with the letters UDRP

A World Intellectual Property (WIPO) panelist has found in favor of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, a generic drugs maker, in a dispute it filed against the domain DrLede.com. The pharmaceutical company uses the domain name DrReddy.com.

The Complainant in a UDRP needs to show that the domain in question is confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights. In this case, it’s a comparison of DrReddy vs. DrLede.

This seems like a stretch at first glance. They certainly aren’t visually similar. The argument here is that they are phonetically similar even though they aren’t visually similar. You could pronounce Led like lead (the element) with a long ‘e’ at the end. That sounds similar to Reddy.

It reminds me of the company that called (still calls?) new domain registrations and says they are with “GoWebby”, which sounds an awful lot like GoDaddy. They don’t look anything alike visually but certainly sound alike when someone quickly rattles off the name in a thick accent.

In this case, the respondent is clearly up to no good. He has a landing page that uses Dr. Reddy’s old logo and a login box. He didn’t respond to the dispute.

The panelist referred to section 1.15 of the WIPO overview, which lists examples of disputes in which panelists considered the usage of the domain when determining confusing similarity.

While this dispute strikes me as more of a trademark dispute than a cybersquatting dispute, it’s not surprising that the panelist took a small leap to find a way to award the domain to the Complainant.

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  1. John Marshall says

    A quick note to compliment all of the team at domainwire.com for doing such a wonderful job! I find it very informative. Keep up the good work! Jack Marshall

  2. Gene Downs says

    Visual search & voice search are very different ! This article reflects some of the differences, various country “English / American” spelling can create a problem

  3. R.K. Sharma says

    This panelist has been taking such leap since long. Please refer to UDRP decision of OYOLife.com, wherein the Respondent had registered the domain name prior to the Complainant, still the domain name was awarded to the Complainant. Rather the matter was out of the preview of UDRP and could have been decided in a court of law.

    Recently all ‘khadi’ related domains were transferred to Government of India by Indian panelists, though in many cases the domain had Registration, prior to their application of Trademark Registration in 2014, while Khadi is a generic word, used since 1930s.

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