‘Most Trusted Hostel-Booking Website’ denied complaint over trademarked domain

Not all UDRP proceedings are fair. Sometimes, the decisions are a bit unusual, where it is difficult to understand the objectivity of it. Take a look at this recent case.

Hostelworld.com Limited, Ireland provides online travel agent and booking services for hostels and related services. In a survey conducted in 2012, it gained the name of the ‘Most Trusted Hostel-Booking Website’. It has been operating since 1999. As the name itself suggests, the Complainant operates on the domain name Hostelworld.com. The Complainant also owns several trademarks over HOSTELWORLD.COM under different authorities. 

However, the domain name MyHostelWorld.info was registered. The Respondent claims that it had owned the domain name earlier in 2009. A 2011 data related to the domain name does show a basic website up on the platform. The Respondent claims to have registered the domain name in relation to an account security lockout issue that he was facing.

The Panel pointed out that the Correspondent, although functioning, wasn’t that popular during 2009. The Respondent couldn’t have known about the Complainant then. Adding to it, the Complainant had a website operating on the platform. And based on these, the panel denied the Complaint.

This does seem a bit unfair to the Complainant. Although, the Registrant might have been unaware of the Complainant. However, this should not mean the lapse of rights of the Complainant. The re-registration of the domain name by the Respondent could have been to gain benefits from the Complainant’s already established goodwill.

The Panel had also advised to seek other jurisdiction platforms, for this domain name, to the related parties.

You can read the full case here.


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