Global brands are not always winning disputes over domain names including their brand names they felt were infringing their rights, sending lawyers dealing with these disputes into a tizz.
A report in Internet Retailing lists a couple of disputed domain names that were not won by the global brands, these being volvospares.com and raleighbikes.com.
The report is confused, referring to ICANN as the arbiter of the domain name disputes, when it is WIPO in both of the cases mentioned.
For volvospares.com, the registrant had first registered the domain name in January 1997 and began operating a website under the name in 2001. It was not until 2008 that Volvo complained.
The Panel found “the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and there is no evidence that the Respondent has been misrepresenting his business either to the public generally or to particular customers as associated with the Complainant, given the above findings, the Panel must find that the domain name has not been registered or used in bad faith.”
In the dispute over raleighbikes.com, WIPO noted “the registrant registered the domain name on December 24, 2007 and connected it to a website the homepage of which is headed prominently with the name ‘Raleigh Bicycles’. The homepage features a paragraph of text explaining that the website is a forum for fans of Raleigh Bicycles. It also contains a legend reading ‘This forum is independently owned and is not in any way connected with Raleigh UK Limited’.”
The complainant, Swissbike Vertriebs GmbH of Switzerland, complained to the registrant about the use of the domain name and the use on the site of one of the complainant’s logos. A letter sent to the registrant sought transfer of the domain name and the registrant replied they would do so for the costs of developing the website – £4,102.92.
The panel found the registrant was not using the domain name in bad faith and refused the request to transfer the domain name.
These decisions make sense and it is about time small businesses were not able to be bullied by large brand owners when developing small businesses online, providing they are not doing so in bad faith.
The WIPO decisions are available from:
The Internet Retailing report is available from: