Does TopEmployers.com belong to Top Employers Institute?

D

In domain name disputes the possession of a trademark does not mean ownership of the domain. There are other elements as well for a complaint to succeed.

CRF International Holding B.V., Netherlands is a company that provides various services in the field of business and database management. The company is an international entity with presence in 11 offices worldwide. The company possesses the domain name Top-Employers.com, registered in 2009. It also owns the trademarks for TOP EMPLOYERS INSTITUTE registered between June 2019 and October 2020.

Thus when the company found out about the existence and operation of the domain name TopEmployers.com, it filed a UDRP against it. The disputed domain name was registered in October 1999. The respondent had some PPC links over the domain name. The respondent did not submit a response.

The panel found that although there might be a similarity between the complainant’s trademark and the domain name in question. However, the domain name was registered in 1999. 10 years before the complainant registered its similar looking domain name. The complainant did not present any evidence that could show that the respondent registered the domain name in bad faith. The domain name is composed of two common terms ‘top’ and ‘employers’. This could be a possible reason for the registration of the domain name.

The complaint was denied.

However, the panel noted that although the respondent did not appear, the case still should be enquired for Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. The panel pointed out that the complainant should have not filed a complaint in knowledge of the fact that the trademark registration succeeded the domain name registration. Even if the trademark preceded, even then the case was difficult to succeed based on the generic nature of terms involved in the domain name. 

The panel thus awarded the complainant with a RDNH as well.

You can read the full case here.

By The Wizard

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