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Montane.com : 1996 domain saved from UDRP

UDRP has been denied.

The aged domain Montane.com was challenged via the UDRP process.

Registered in 1996, Montane.com was attempted to be acquired by the Complainant is Montane Ltd. of Ashington, United Kingdom.

As it has been parked with a for sale contact form and a minimum asking price of $10,000 dollars,the Complainant took that literally, without investigating the actual value of the domain:

The Complainant notes that the Respondent has attempted to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant for a six figure sum in “response to the Complainant’s proposed price of USD 11,000 which it describes as “more reasonable, commercially accurate and justifiable”.”

Six figures for an aged, generic domain name seems reasonable, despite a trademark for the MONTANE term that the Complainant holds since 1998.

According to NameBio, Montane.com was last sold for $2,386 at SnapNames, in 2006.

Attorney John Berryhill responded on behalf of the Respondent:

“The Respondent states that as a commercial indicator the word “montane” is not exclusively or notoriously associated with the Complainant. The Respondent identifies some eight trademarks registered by third parties for the mark MONTANE covering various goods and services. The Respondent argues in these circumstances that it is not tenable that a visitor to the website associated with the disputed domain name is seeking the Complainant and being diverted by the Respondent. The Respondent identifies four example domain names containing the word “montane” relating to different types of businesses including a shipping company, a candle designer, a real estate developer and a construction firm. The Respondent notes that none of these entities is selling clothing and adds that neither is the Respondent.

The Respondent argues that its use of the disputed domain name for an inquiry form about the domain name itself together with an illustrated depiction of the type of thing for which the domain name might find a descriptive, generic or suggestive use, cannot be said to be taking unfair advantage of a trademark for apparel. The Respondent notes that it deliberately declines to utilize the disputed domain name in association with automated parking advertising and submits that this demonstrates the care which the Respondent has taken to avoid associating the name with a secondary meaning belonging to another.”

A three member panel at the WIPO, consisting of Andrew D. S. Lothian, Adam Samuel and Alistair Payne concluded the following:

The Complainant in this case has not demonstrated to the Panel’s satisfaction that the Respondent sought to target the Complainant or had knowledge of it or its trademark.

Similarly, there is no evidence before the Panel that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name sets out to target the Complainant or its MONTANE mark.

With regard to the Complainant’s submissions on the negotiations for the sale of the disputed domain name, the Panel notes that the Respondent sought to sell the disputed domain name to a person who did not initially identify themselves as an agent of the Complainant or any other owner of rights in the term “montane”. In any event, there is no evidence on the present record that the Respondent’s primary intent was to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant in particular or to a competitor of the Complainant. On the contrary, the evidence points to the proposed sale to any interested parties of a domain name consisting of a generic or dictionary word.

The domain was ordered to remain with the Respondent.

For the full text of the UDRP decision click here.

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