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Hoooked.com UDRP raises the issues of “made-up” domain names


UDRP has been denied.

If you’re a company that decides to come up with a creative, non-dictionary term to use for your brand, make sure that it’s available as a .com.

In 2008, a Dutch company called Hoooked B.V. registered the domain Hoooked.nl.

That’s three “O” letters right there.

Hoooked operates a business recycling textiles into yarn and produces products known as “Hoooked Zpagetti” and “Hoooked Fuzzili” which have been distributed worldwide through needlecraft distributors, department stores, hobby chains and independent stores since 2008.

When your products are clearly made-up words too and depend on the primary brand, why don’t you begin on a clean slate, ensuring the .COM is available?

In this case, the domain Hoooked.com was already registered since 2007; almost 10 years later, a UDRP filed by the Dutch company attempts to wrestle away that domain.

According to the Respondent:

“[…] the disputed domain name could not have been registered in bad faith as it was registered before the Complainants started their business in 2008. He says that the Respondent could not have known about the Complainants’ business beforehand and then registered it in 2007 for the purpose of selling it back to the Complainants, or in order to disrupt a business that did not exist at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. The Respondent also submits that there is no evidence as to why the Respondent, based in the United States, should have been aware of the Complainants, based in the Netherlands.”

The Respondent seeks a finding of reverse domain name hijacking due to the Complainants’ trade mark being registered five years after the registration of the disputed domain name.

According to the WIPO panelist, Jonathan Turner:

“The fact that the Respondent does not appear to have had any concrete plans to use the Domain Name and, indeed, has not used it in the 13 years since registering it does not mean that the Respondent necessarily registered it in bad faith. It is in principle legitimate for businesses to register domain names which they reckon they might want to use in good faith, even if this eventuality does not come to pass.

There is no evidence of the Respondent making any attempt to solicit a sale of the Domain Name. If its original registration was in good faith, the Respondent would have been entitled to respond to the Complainant’s entreaties years later to sell the domain name. However, the evidence shows that the Respondent ignored numerous invitations from the Complainant to sell the Domain Name and eventually sought a substantial payment before it would begin to discuss the matter. In the Panel’s view, it cannot be inferred from this that the Respondent registered the Domain Name with a view to selling it to the Complainant or the Complainant’s predecessor.”

Although the panelist rejected a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, he denied the Complainant’s request as well. The domain Hoooked.com will remain with its owner.

Read the full text of this UDRP decision.

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