Bear’s cybersquatting case fails.
Cocaine Bear wanted her domain name, but a UDRP panelist said no.
Last month, someone filed a cybersquatting claim against the domain name CocaineBear.com. Cocaine Bear (aka Palbo EscoBear) has become famous (again?) thanks to a new movie.
It turns out that the Complainant was Kentucky for Kentucky LLC, a group that owns the real taxidermied Cocaine bear. The organization has a name licensing agreement with Universal Studios for the movie.
A company in Singapore registered CocaineBear.com in May 2022. This was well after the movie was announced, but the domain was registered by someone else when the movie was announced and then expired.
A National Arbitration Forum panelist ruled that Kentucky by Kentucky’s IP around the name came too late. It seems that the group has been promoting Cocaine Bear for many years, but its registered IP is more recent. And it didn’t do a good job convincing the panelist that it had previous common law rights.
Panelist Alan L. Limbury wrote:
The name “cocaine bear” is a well-known reference to a bear which died from an overdose of cocaine in 1985. The cocainebear.com domain name was registered on May 28, 2022, some three months before Complainant’s mark was registered with the USPTO and some weeks after Complainant claims first use of the mark. However, there is no evidence of the extent of any such use by Complainant from which it may be concluded that Respondent, in Singapore, was aware of Complainant’s mark when registering the domain name.
He noted that the Cocaine Bear mark, “comprises ordinary descriptive words and there is no evidence that the mark is so distinctive or well-known that there is no plausible good faith use to which it may be put.”
Note: the original version of this story refers to Cocaine Bear as “he”. I’ve been informed by an attorney (who I’m not sure is representing the bear) that it is actually a “she”. I apologize for any harm this has caused the bear.