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Just don’t do it : Turkish dotless “i” involved in Nike domain UDRP

Don’t do it.

The use of a Turkish “dotless” letter “i” was recently the center of a UDRP brought forth by Nike, Inc.

The domain in question, Nıke.com, resembles “Nike” but is in fact an IDN, or Internationalized Domain Name.

Nıke.com was parked with a zero click lander leading to Google results about Nike; the world-famous corporation filed a UDRP against the domain.

“According to Complainant, the “ı” in <nıke.com> represents the non-ANSII Turkish dotless “ı” character and falls within the category of domains known as “internationalized domain names” (“IDN”s). The domain name, as seen in the WHOIS information of record, is translated in Punycode as <xn--nke-jua.com>. Panels have treated Punycode iterations of domain names in an identical manner with their IDN counterparts. See, e.g., Microsoft Corp. v. Harrington, FA1305319 (Forum Mar. 16, 2010); Cable News Network, Inc. v. Guowei Hai Gui, FA1426475 (Forum Mar. 13, 2012); Watts Water Tech. Inc. v. Am. WATS Valve Group, FA1464841 (Forum Nov. 21, 2012). Therefore, the Panel determines that proceeding to analyze the IDN <nıke.com>  rather than its Punycode <xn--nke-jua.com> is proper as they are equivalent.”

In other words, when dealing with registrations of IDN domains that create trademark violations by visually matching the letters involved, it doesn’t matter if the Punycode variant looks completely different.

Needless to say that John J. Upchurch, sole panelist at the National Arbitration Forum, ordered the domain Nıke.com to be transferred to the Complainant, Nike, Inc.

Click here to read the full text of this UDRP decision.

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