Usually domain disputes involve the commercial aspects of businesses. However, sometimes cases come across that have much more broader social implications as evident in this case study.
WIPO was presented with a complicated domain dispute regarding the domain name MomsDemand.org. The Complainant here is an organisation that goes by the name Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. The Complainant is a gun safety organisation, that advocates about the judicious use of firearms and aids in preventing gun law violence.
The Complainant uses the mark MOMS DEMAND ACTION to voice its efforts. The Complainant holds trademarks over the said mark since July 2014. However, the domain name in question was registered in February 2021.
The Respondent at one time had redirected the domain name to a website displaying 3D printable gun parts for sale. One of these parts even included the mark MOMS DEMAND ACTION.
The Respondent didn’t submit any formal response. Informally, the Respondent did state that the domain name registration was a part of him exercising his Free Speech and the domain was registered as a parody of the organisation.
The panel did admit that although the terms in domain name were generic in nature, it can be argued that Respondent’s registration was just a mere coincidence. The Respondent did register the domain name to target the Complainant.
A discussion on “Impersonation Test” also took place. This test is assigned to conduct whether the impersonation is for exercise of free speech or an infringement of other parties rights.
However the panel also mentioned that a blanket application of the test should be appropriated with a more holistic approach considering every case on its merit.
The panel did find the Respondent violating the Complainant’s right and considering the larger social implications, the domain name was Transferred.
You can read the case in detail here.