Short domain names have a great intrinsic value in them. These are easy to remember, easy to type and are deeply wanted by everyone. Small names present a cleaner and sleaker image of the brand that is widely accepted by the consumers. Hence, these names are often under disputes and arbitrations.
Skillful Communications Inc. is a company that trains individuals and organizations in career-related training. The company operates at the domain SkillfullyDone.com and Skill.net. The company has also registered trademarks over SKILLFUL and SKILL in September 2016 and April 2021 respectively. It however has been using these marks as long back as, 2007 for SKILLFUL and 2020 for SKILL.
However, the domain name Skill.com was registered by someone else, which the company considered a violation of its trademark. In early 2021 the domain name started to point to Scout Exchange, LLC which the company calls its competitor.
The domain name was registered by its owner in 1995, which the company admits. However, this recent direction of the domain to the company’s competitors using its registered trademark led to the filing of a UDRP.
The domain had been registered by a staffing company. The parent company of the respondent was TRI Ventures, Inc. The respondent claimed that the domain name in question had been with them since its inception through various subsidiaries of the parent company. The direction to the Scout Exchange, LLC is a part of that, as it is one of its subsidiaries as well.
The panel found that the domain name had indeed been with the registrant through its other subsidiaries, which is a common business practice. The newly applied redirection to the new platform thus cant be considered infringing upon the complainant’s trademark. Neither was the complainant able to establish bad faith on the respondent’s part. A domain registered years before the claimed first use.
The Complaint was denied.
Although the redirection might have caused some confusion, this case could have been avoided. The complainant could have known that the dispute won’t succeed against a domain name registered so long ago, while its own trademarks were so recent.
You can read the full case here.