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Montezuma’s domain revenge : UDRP on king’s name was denied

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Montezuma.com UDRP failed.

Montezuma.com UDRP failed.

Montezuma was an Aztec king, and the matching .com domain, Montezuma.com, was challenged in a UDRP.

Registered in 2000, this generic domain is owned by Ashanti Plc, a Hong Kong based corporation.

The Complainant was Quality Craft Industries, Inc.

Complainant’s company, Montezuma Mfg., Inc., was established over 35 years ago for the business purpose of selling toolboxes. In furtherance of its business purpose, Complainant has registered the MONTEZUMA mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

IP attorney, John Berryhill, was the Respondent’s attorney.

According to the UDRP for Montezuma.com:

“Respondent has solicited the sale of the <montezuma.com> domain name. See Compl., at Attached Ex. 2I (“This Domain Name is Possibly For Sale * All Offers Below $10,000 USD will be discarded”). See also Attached Exhibit 2F, demonstrating email contact with Respondent’s agent offering the disputed domain for $150,000USD to $200,000USD.”

The Complainant claims they let the domain lapse way back in 1999.

Respondent’s defense was thus presented:

“Complainant’s predecessor-in-interest abandoned the domain name some 16 years ago when there was no public record of a claim of rights in “MONTEZUMA’ as a mark. The term “Montezuma” is a common word in geography and history, and has no famous or unique association with the Complainant.”

Regarding its use of the domain, the Respondent outlines that the fact he used it longer than the Complainant did:

“Complainant’s predecessor used the domain name for three years, and the Respondent for 13 years. Respondent alleges that there has never been one day that the domain name was used to advertise anything to do with tool boxes.   Rather, Respondent has advertised Central American travel and linked historical references, but never toolboxes.

The Respondent understands that the Complainant would like to have the domain name and has offered $25,000.00 for it. Respondent alleges that the Complainant cannot seriously claim that its business has been disrupted while the Complainant claims to have been vigilantly watching the Respondent’s registration and use of the domain name.”

A three member panel at the National Arbitration Forum reached a split (2-1) decision on behalf of the Respondent. The dissenting panelist, Houston Putnam Lowry, took time to assert that the Respondent acted in bad faith registration and use.

Regardless, Montezuma.com was ordered to remain with the Respondent. For the full text of the UDRP decision, click here.


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