Descriptive trade names are names that are not exclusive in nature. For example, a name representing an Industry in general ,say ‘Oil Industries’, is descriptive. But, on the other hand a name like ‘ABCD Oil’ is non-descriptive as they are exclusive in nature. ‘Oil Industries’ could be applied and used by any Oil Company, however the name ‘ABCD Oil’ cannot be used by any Oil Company, but only by a specific one.
The use of a descriptive name can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous. The advantage is quite clear. You can cater to a much bigger customer base. As a potential investment, it has high value as it can be monetized from any related participants. It promotes an additional branding as people unaware of the said service and product would see it as ‘the’ company providing the same.
The disadvantages include that anyone can register a similar name and since it’s a descriptive term, the registration can’t be questioned. This paralyzes Descriptive domain name investors against arbitrations and disputes. This can be seen as in the case of AirCharterServices.com.au.
The Complainant, as the domain name suggests, provides air charter services. It also has in its possession AirCharterService.com.au and AirCharterService.com. The Respondent offers similar services and operates at AVMIN.com.au. The disputed domain name redirects to it. The platform at the domain name reads. ‘AVMIN® AIR CHARTER SPECIALISTS’.
The Panel pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of registering a descriptive domain name. While registering a descriptive offers a broad possibility, the registrant should also bear the brunt when someone registers something related to it. The Complainant also provides any strong evidence of Bad Faith in registration. The domain name contains terms that has a relation to the Respondent’s business operations.
The Complaint was denied.
You can read the full case here.