70 year old company should have registered their domain early

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Domain Names are not just a code to point to your website. It is the digital identity, the name, the brand of your company. Sadly, many companies realize it a little late and have to bear the brunt of it now. 

Bette GmbH & Co is an international manufacturer of shower trays, wash basins and related accessories. The company has been in operation since 1952. It has several registered marks over BETTE such as German and International registration that include UK, registered in June 2003 and August 2003 respectively. It operates on the domain name my-bette.com, registered in August 2019.

Although the company had been in operation for a long time, it had not acquired its domain name. Meanwhile the domain name Bette.com was registered in February 1998. The domain name (at the time of case filing) was used to offer PPC links related to Bette GmbH’s competitor and offered the domain name for sale at a hefty price. A UDRP case was thus filed against the registrants of the domain name.

The complainant argues that the domain name wasn’t used for any bonafide activity and instead only to offer PPC links. The respondent contended that the domain name was registered for a betting platform for women. Domain names related to Elizabeth were quite pricey, the respondent thus registered a derivative of it, Betty.  Owing to its common use, the domain name was thus a legitimate investment.

The panel noted that although the complainant claimed usage before the registration of the domain name, appropriate evidence supporting it could not be presented. The domain name was registered way before the registration of trademarks. The reason offered by the respondent related to the reasons behind registration also seemed plausible to the panel and the Complainant was denied.

This shows how failing to register your domain name can highly impact your company’s brand. Now the complainant, even though using the mark for over 70 years could not claim its digital identity.

You can read the case in full detail here.

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