[Editor’s note: Nat Cohen takes a look at recent UDRP decisions in this extensive report.]
Are you guilty of “cybersquatting” without knowing it? Take a look at these recent Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”, or the “Policy”) decisions and the reasons the panelists give for finding the domain owners guilty of cybersquatting and for ordering the transfer of their domains.
If you want to see how the UDRP is being misused to seize properly registered domain names, read on…
HDRamp.com, March 9, 2016
Complainant: Heavy Duty Ramps LLC, sellers of heavy duty ramps
Respondent: Landsport, sellers of heavy duty ramps
A business operating on the plural version of a descriptive product domain (hdramps.com) for “heavy duty ramps” can seize the singular version (hdramp.com) from a competitor despite having no registered trademark rights at the time the disputed domain was registered, and based on a design mark registered just a few months before the UDRP filing and including a disclaimer of the wording.
While Respondent contends that the domain is comprised of common and descriptive terms and as such cannot be found to be identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, the Panel finds that such a determination is not necessary under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) as this portion of the Policy considers only whether Complainant has rights in the mark and whether the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.
Thus, Respondent’s use of the domain disrupts and competes with Complainant’s business because Respondent uses the domain to sell products and services that compete with Complainant’s business.
Respondent has engaged in the tactic of typosquatting by simply removing the letter “s” from Complainant’s HD RAMPS mark, in order to register its domain name of hdramp.com.
Screenshot of Respondent’s hdramp.com, before the domain was transferred to Complainant.