Does having a unique name give rights over a corresponding domain name?

What happens when someone registers a domain name that is based on your name? The UDRP rules are not clear about what to do in such cases. However, one condition is perhaps looked upon and that is whether there is an operating business over that name.

Let’s dive deeper into the issue, with a Domain name dispute case that involves the name of a Complainant.

Complainant’s Case

Jürgen Neeme is a domain name investor. Mr. Neeme has invested in several domain names, the new numbers of which exceed thousands. However, he was met with a betrayal from one of his former associates, another domain name investor.

The domain name was registered and used by a party that had agreed to sell the domain name. However, even after payment of the amount asked, the domain name wasn’t transferred to the Complainant. 

The Complainant claims that the website at the disputed domain name shows the Complainant in a bad light. The Complainant also admits that he lacks the trademark rights over the term.

However, the Complainant presents that the name as in association with him has gained certain notoriety. The Complainant showed Google search results as evidence of it. The Complainant also presented the examples of other Domain Name Dispute cases where he was involved and his name was used. His trade of domain name was also carried through his name.

The Complainant claimed that when the Respondent was again inquired about the domain name, he demanded a sum of $50,000.

Respondent’s Rebuttal

The Respondent came heavily on the Complainant. The Respondent showed that although the Complainant was a domain name investor, he still didn’t have a single domain name on his name. 

The Respondent rejected the claim that the Complainant’s name has acquired notoriety. The Respondent presented that a mere mentioning of the name in domain dispute case where the Complainant has lost, doesn’t accord him with notoriety over the same.

The Respondent also argued that the Complainant doesn’t use his name as a public identifier, or a term that people identify and associate with him commercially. The name domain sales was only used when the payment was finalised. As a public identifier, the term used by the Complainant was

Jury’s Judgement

The panel found that the name involved in the dispute was indeed very unique. The panel noted that the Complainant failed to provide any financial, legal or administrative document to establish that it was known by his name by Third Parties.

This notoriety is required if the Complainant wishes to replace Trademark Rights with Common Law Rights. The examples of various domain name disputes using the name is also not a sufficient proof to grant common law rights.

Hence, the panel side with the Respondent’s version of the case.

The Complaint was denied.

You can read the complete case here.


Join the Discussion

Discover more from Domain Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Verified by ExactMetrics