Vitaly Popov isn’t happy; the Russian registrant of ɢoogle.com just lost his domain in a UDRP.
Google Inc., the 800 pound search engine gorilla was the Complainant in this case, at the National Arbitration Forum.
According to the UDRP, Google raised the following issue:
Complainant offers a wide range of Internet-related products and services, including Internet search and online advertising services. Complainant registered the GOOGLE mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (e.g., Reg. No. 3,140,793, registered Sept. 12, 2006), which demonstrates Complainant’s rights in its mark.
Respondent’s <ɢoogle.com> is identical to the GOOGLE mark because it replaces the “G” with “ɢ” which is visually identical to Complainant’s mark, and the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is an irrelevant addition.”
We aren’t sure which character set the “ɢ” belongs to in this IDN domain, but Google makes a point that it attempts to pass as a legitimate “Google.com” that can confuse visitors.
Not so fast, Google, said Vitaly Popov in his response:
Complainant has misrepresented Respondent’s use in this proceeding. Respondent has not arranged for the resolving website to display malware, scareware, or used the website for any nefarious purposes. Respondent provides, in its Annex 2, a website that purportedly shows Respondent’s domain name is not involved in what has been defined as “spam.” Complainant provides evidence of <oogle.com> resolving to <chestgold.com>, not Respondent’s <ɢoogle.com>.
Popov also felt entitled to a finding of “reverse domain name hijacking.”
Antonina Pakharenko-Anderson, sole Panelist for the National Arbitration Forum, assessed the information and stated the following:
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks. Previous UDRP panels ruled that “a likelihood of confusion is presumed, and such confusion will inevitably result in the diversion of Internet traffic from the Complainant’s site to the Respondent’s site” (See Edmunds.com, Inc v. Triple E Holdings Limited, WIPO Case No. D2006-1095). To this end, prior UDRP panels have established that attracting Internet traffic by using a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a registered trademark may be evidence of bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the UDRP.
Furthermore, Complainant has provided information that supports its contention that Respondent’s conduct online has been nefarious through screenshots of the resolving website which purportedly displays an attempt to download malware (see Compl., at Attached Annexes 10–11, 15), as well as recognition Respondent has received online for its actions in spamming online (see Compl., at Attached Annexes 12, 20). The fact some of the links appear to be malware or phishing sites is further evidence of bad faith, and, therefore, the Panel agrees that the weight of the evidence shows that Respondent’s actions are indeed suspect, and that findings of bad faith are warranted under Policy 4(b)(iii) and (iv).
Ms. Pakharenko-Anderson delivered a finding of bad faith on behalf of Vitaly Popov, ordering the domain to be transferred to the Complainant.
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