Domainer vs. Coca-Cola and the HonestDrink.com UDRP

Directnic

Bring it on, Coca-Cola.

“I’m a domainer and I have my lawyer” – this was part of the private response of the HonestDrink.com registrant, when he was contacted by the Coca-Cola lawyers.

The fizzy drink giant chose to file a UDRP against the owner of the domain HonestDrink.com.

Formally, the Complainants are Honest Tea, Inc. of Delaware, United States of America (“United States”) and The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, United States, represented by Bates & Bates LLM, United States.

Coca-Cola owns various marks for HONEST and HONEST BEVERAGES, for a variety of drinks, including tea. Their marks go as far back as 1998.

HonestDrink.com was acquired on GoDaddy, according to the Respondent, who claimed he paid $1,500 for it at an expired domains auction.

In private, the full exchange included the following:

“Look, I am a domainer with more than 900 domains and I have my lawyer, but if you want to end the deal I am willing to accept $1500 for it . The UDRP will cost alone $2500. So, I am willing to accept to get back what I spend in Godaddy auction to get it, but if we will go to court then I will not even accept $50K for it!”

One needs to pick their battles, and Coca-Cola didn’t blink twice, choosing to file this UDRP.

The Respondent stated:

“The Respondent submits that he has procedures underway to register his own trademark in Palestine. He states that he commenced these procedure in March 2017 and can produce relevant documents. He states that the disputed domain name is currently used as a GoDaddy parking page which shows random advertisements and none involving tea. The Respondent states that he acquired the disputed domain name for the purposes of a business which will sell a drink named Honest Drink, made from medicinal herbs, to be sold only in Palestine.

The Respondent argues that “honest” is a generic word and that the Complainants cannot own trademark rights in it.

He points to the domain name <honestdrinks.com>, which he says is owned by a party other than the Complainants in Belgium, and asks why the Complainants have not fought for that domain name.”

Steven A. Maier, sole panelist at the WIPO, found that the registration of HonestDrink.com was done in bad faith and used without a bona fide purpose in mind, thus ordering the domain to be transferred to the Complainant.

For the full text of this UDRP decision, click here.


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Comments

2 Responses to “Domainer vs. Coca-Cola and the HonestDrink.com UDRP”
  1. anonymous says:

    If they were not running tea ads then it was theft Imo.

  2. I can honestly say I don’t drink coke

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