The Turkish Towel Company brought a UDRP at the National Arbitration Forum, against the registrant of the domain TurkishTowels.com.
With a long tradition in cotton and textile weaving, Turkey is a major exporter of linens, including towels.
The term “Turkish towels” is thus descriptive, indicating a country of origin.
Despite that, the mark THE TURKISH TOWEL COMPANY was registered in 2000 with the USPTO; the Complainant used that to attempt to gain control of the domain.
The Respondent, represented by the Marc J. Randazza of Randazza Legal Group, wiped such claims clean.
Complainant’s registration is on the Supplemental Register, which does not provide any substantive protections. Further, Respondent registered its domain name on December 16, 2000, prior to Complainant’s registration date. Towels originated in Turkey, and therefore the phrase “Turkish Towels” is descriptive. Additionally, on January 11, 2011, Respondent acquired a USPTO registration on the Principal Register for the TURKISHTOWELS.COM mark (Reg. No. 3,903,955).
The disputed domain name consists entirely of Respondent’s registered mark, and the fact that Complainant and Respondent are competitors holds no bearing on Respondent’s rights and legitimate interests in the <turkishtowels.com> domain name. Further, the disputed domain name consists of descriptive terms.
Respondent registered the descriptive disputed domain name in good faith, and had no knowledge of Complainant at the time of registration.
Furthermore, the doctrine of laches was introduced by the Respondent, to emphasize the lack of any action against the domain for more than a decade.
The panel did not utilize this argument, but it wasn’t necessary, as the domain was ordered to remain with its registrant in this case.
“The Panel further finds that Respondent has not violated any of the factors listed in Policy ¶ 4(b) or engaged in any other conduct that would constitute bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii), and concludes Respondent has not registered or used the <turkishtowels.com> domain name in bad faith.”
For questions regarding this UDRP decision for TurkishTowels.com, visit the Randazza Legal Group.
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