Dispute Cases are comparatively easy when the two parties are adversaries. It gets complicated when the two parties aren’t rivals but former partners. Disputes get much more complex in this situation as it becomes difficult to draw a line over what belongs to whom?
Usually a Business or Contractual dispute falls outside the preview of UDRP cases. However, in our present Domain Name Dispute study, the panel did interfere.
Red Reactive is a light based skin treatment company. The company owns the trademark rights over the RED REACTIVE mark filed in March 2022.
The Complainant claims that the Respondent in this case was a contractor for a sister company of theirs. The domain name was registered by the Respondent, owing to association of them with the Complainant.
Both the parties were trying to come as one, however the union couldn’t be finalised. However, after the split, the Respondent refuses to handover the domain name back to the Complainant.
Along with the ownership of trademark rights, the Complainant also claims Common Law Rights over the same as well.
The Respondent presented that he wasn’t just a mere contractor as depicted by the Respondent. He owns and wishes to enforce ownership over the company. He presented he has legal documents supporting the same as well.
The Respondent claimed that the trademark registration over the dispute mark has been filed and not officially granted yet. In such a case, the Complainant doesn’t even has any rights, which they claim to be violated.
The panel presented that this was a clear case of business and contractual dispute. UDRP procedures usually keep themselves out of such cases. This is because such cases are complex and have much more varied disputes than those belonging to a domain name.
However, in this case the panel presented their views. The panel found that the Respondent doesn’t have finalised Trademark rights over the disputed terms. The trademarks were still in the filing process and yet to be approved. Such pending trademarks do not establish rights.
The common law rights as mentioned by the Respondent lacks any legal and evidential backing. In such a situation the first provision for the success of a Domain Name Complaint, i.e, Identical and/or Confusingly Similar fails.
For a UDRP case to succeed, all the criterias need to be validated. Failing any one of them renders the whole case in failure.
The Complaint was thus denied.
You can read the case in full detail here.