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07|05|2010 09:26 am EDT

WIPO Panel Debates Definition of “Bad Faith” in UDRP Decision

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Legal Issues

In a recent decision in the dispute for the domain name, the WIPO panel let the original registrant keep the domain name. However the 3-person panel did not agree how exactly the “bad faith” criteria should be applied. The panel was not clear whether it mattered if a domain name was registered in bad faith when compared to the complainant’s trademark, or if this criteria could be applied against any existing trademark.

From the decision (emphasis added):

Faced with the fact that the Domain Name was registered in 2004, well before the Complainant was formed in 2007, the Complainant argues that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith directed at General Motors, which had announced a concept car called “Evoq” in 1999.

Some members of the Panel are inclined to conclude that, to prove bad faith registration, the Respondent must have had a bad faith intention with respect to the Complainant’s mark. However, the Panel does not need to reach a definitive conclusion on that issue because, even if bad faith directed at third parties could constitute bad faith for the purpose of this requirement, the Panel does not find the existence of any such bad faith on the evidence in this case.

So while the panel clearly thought that the domain owner did not register this domain in order to infringe on the complainant’s brand, at least one panelist thought it may have been infringing on another companies’ brand and thus could potentially constitute a bad faith registration.

In a conversation with DNN, Zak Muscovitch of DNAttorney commented as follows:

Zak Muscovitch

Zak Muscovitch at DomainConvergence

The Complainant’s position is absurd. The Complainant argues that the Respondent should be found to have registered the domain name in bad faith, even though the Complainant wasn’t even in existence at the time the domain name was registered, because the disputed domain name was registered after  an unrelated third party; General Motors, acquired trademark rights. The fact that the Complainant was able to adopt EVOQ as a trade name and trademark for its communications and branding business years after General  Motors acquired trademark rights,  in ostensible “good faith”, means that  the Respondent was equally able to register the domain name in good faith notwithstanding General Motor’s limited rights. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. EVOQ is a name that could lend itself to any number of business endeavours. This is a case of attempted domain name hijacking in my opinion, pure and simple.

[Thank you safesys/DBR]

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1 Comment


July 5, 2010 @ 1:58 pm EDT

Great picture Zak!

btw nice work ;)

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