Yeti vs. Rtic : UDRP decision might surprise some!

Directnic

UDRP has been denied.

Strong trademarks such as the Yeti mark for coolers have led to a large number of UDRP wins for the Complainant.

In the case of the domains YetiVsRtic.com and RticVsYeti.com the result was a refusal of transfer by the National Arbitration Forum.

What led to that decision?

According to the Respondent’s arguments in this case:

Respondent claims that the letters “vs” are used in the disputed domain names to indicate a comparison between Complainant’s YETI mark products and the third party competitor, RTIC, as “vs” means “versus”.

Secondly, Respondent argues that his intents for the domain names are to serve as comparison sites of the two competing brands, which wouldn’t be considered a bad faith use of the domain names under the Policy.

In several UDRP cases where two trademarks are combined in a single domain, the decision was refused on the basis that the Complaint does not include both mark owners.

For example, the cases of Alienware and NVidia, or NikeGoogle.com.

In this case, however, the sole panelist, Eduardo Machado, found no bad faith in the registration or use of these domains:

Thus, even though it can be said that the <yetivsrtic.com> domain might have been used in bad-faith, after analyzing the case and evidence brought by both parties, the Panel could not verify that such domain has been registered in bad-faith.

On the contrary, the Panel verifies that Respondent intends for the domain names to serve as legitimate comparison sites of the two competing brands, which, in accordance with the Policy, falls within the scope of fair use.

For this purpose, Respondent has purchased items in preparation to use the domain names in question, including products sold by both companies.

Lastly, the Panel also verifies that the fact that <rticvsyeti.com> resolves to an inactive page that displays the message “WELCOME TO YOUR NEW WEBSITE” is not sufficient evidence to constitute bad faith registration.

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


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