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Periscope up : Twitter UDRP against PeriSearch.net is quite overreaching

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Once in a while, we see a major corporation, such as Twitter, exert its full corporate weight to squash improvisation.

In the UDRP case involving the domain Perisearch.net, its Turkish programmer was forced to surrender a domain that in our opinion violated no trademarks.

Twitter acquired Periscope, a live video streaming service for between $75 million to $100 million dollars in 2015. Periscope’s popularity has grown so much that even Facebook recently copied it, launching Facebook Live.

Although the service, and subsequently Twitter, own a trademark for PERISCOPE, they do not own the .com; Periscope operates from Periscope.tv.

Mehmet Erdogan, a Turkish developer, created a useful meta-search engine for Periscope called Perisearch, allowing visitors to browse Periscope videos. Similar meta-search engines exist for Instagram and YouTube.

That didn’t sit well with Twitter, and in the UDRP that ensued some extreme allegations were made:

“Respondent’s <perisearch.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s PERISCOPE mark. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <perisearch.net> domain name. Respondent registered and uses the <perisearch.net> domain name in bad faith.”

Twitter further alleges that the Respondent, who did not file a response in this far-reaching UDRP, attempts to pass off as Periscope, incorporating their logo as well.

Twitter’s claims are disputable, as a logo comparison indicates:

perisearch

While Perisearch provided the ability to browse Periscope videos, it didn’t claim being a Periscope service. Apparently, its popularity annoyed Twitter.

The sole panelist’s decision is quite shocking:

“Respondent’s <perisearch.net> domain name is confusingly similar to the PERISCOPE mark because it contains a truncated version of the mark, “peri,” combined with the word “search” and the gTLD “.net.”  Complainant argues that “search” is a term that describes Complainant’s use of the mark for online search tools.  The Panel agrees and finds that the <perisearch.net> domain name is confusingly similar to the PERISCOPE mark.  “

The word “Peri-” is a Greek prefix, used to indicate an “all around” direction. The “Peri-” prefix can be part of many different words, and not exclusively for the word “Periscope,” which describes an instrument for viewing “all around.”

For the full text of this UDRP against the domain Perisearch.net, click here.


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