With three letter dot com domains remaining as the de facto coinage, it’s no wonder companies still attempt to wrestle them away in a UDRP, as opposed to paying fair market prices for them.
In a UDRP filed at the WIPO, the domain WUP.com was challenged by a German company, Wengenroth und Partner.
The owners of WUP.com from Pakistan, did their homework quite well, responding thus:
“The Respondent submits that “wup” is a generic term. It says that the Complainant has not provided any evidence that it developed rights prior to the Respondent’s registration in 2008 and that this date predates the Complainant’s trade mark registration by six years. The Respondent also notes that the Complainant trades as “Wengenroth und Partner” and not under the name or style “WUP” and that its principal domain name is <www.wegenroth-und-partner.de> and not <www.wup.de>. It notes that the oldest blog on the Complainant’s website dates back to June 2012 and submits that the company may not even have existed when the disputed domain name was registered.
The Respondent says that it registered the disputed domain name for its own purposes in 2008 and at the time was not aware of the Complainant’s existence. It notes that it has been approached by numerous parties, including the Complainant, to sell the disputed domain name but has never accepted any approach. Further, the Complainant says that it has not attempted to sell, rent or transfer the disputed domain name to anyone and that the Complainant has not put forward any evidence that this is the case.
The Respondent submits that it follows that there is no evidence that it has registered or used the disputed domain name in bad faith. Apart from not offering to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant or to a competitor, the Respondent says that it did not register the disputed domain name to disrupt the business of the Complainant or of a competitor and reiterates that it had no knowledge of the Complainant at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. The Respondent also notes that it does not operate a website that is likely to be confused with the Complainant’s social media consulting website.”
Alistair Payne, sole panelist, took everything into consideration, including the Complainant’s claims to the ‘WUP’ mark, and made this statement:
“As noted above, the Complainant has made no suggestion that its business under the WUP mark was operating at the date of registration of the disputed domain name and neither is there any evidence to suggest that the Respondent should or could have been aware of the Complainant’s interest in the WUP mark at that date. The Panel’s view in this regard is reinforced by the fact that the Complainant’s WUP trade mark was only registered in 2014 and that the earliest evidence of use by the Complainant of the WUP mark is from a blog in 2012.
In these circumstances it seems more likely than not that the Respondent, as it submits, was not aware of the Complainant or of its WUP mark in 2008 when it registered the disputed domain name and there is therefore no basis on which the Panel could therefore infer registration in bad faith.
For completeness the Panel also notes that in all these circumstances and considering that there is no evidence that the parties operate competing businesses, the fact that the disputed domain name appears to resolve to a “pay-per-click” advertising site with no apparent theme does not alone amount to use in bad faith. As a result the Complaint also fails under the third element of the Policy.”
With that in mind, the complaint was denied and WUP.com was ordered to remain with its Registrant.
For the full text of this UDRP, click here.
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