Covid was a huge wave, whose rupples are felt till now. Domain Names gained primary focus here. Several companies that operated only via Brick and Mortar Shops had to register and operate a domain name. This led to congestion and contentions over the usage of some names. In today’s case study it HEMPIRE.
The domain name TeamHempire.com was under contention over two very fierce parties. The Complainant was Swisher International, Inc. The Complainant manufactures tobacco related products. The Complainant had registered the HEMPIRE mark under USPTO since September 2010. The trademark was registered in relation to cigarette and cigarette rolling papers. The Complainant has also been using the registered mark since 2005 at Hempire.com.
The Respondent is the owner of a Hemp Boutique that was established in 2017. The company started as a brick and mortar shop. Things changed with the pandemic. The Respondent had to shift its business to online completely. The domain name registration was for this purpose.
The Respondent that the trademark rights of the Complainant do not hold here as they are related to tobacco products. The Respondent claimed that its business is different from the Complainant with it being concentrated on CBD and related products instead of tobacco.
The panel denied the Complaint. However the Court also noticed that the case be presented on some other legal platform with bigger dispute resolution machinery.
You can read the full case here.