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TupeloHoney.com : Complainant found guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking


RDNH finding for TupeloHoney.com

The domain TupeloHoney.com was registered in 1998, as a geographical descriptor of honey, particularly when it’s made in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Tupelo Honey Hospitality Corporation, is a restaurant group with headquarters based in Asheville, North Carolina and they filed a UDRP against the aged domain.

Although there are registered trademarks with the USPTO for TUPELO HONEY and TUPELO HONEY CAFE, they were registered in 2017 and 2007 respectively, with a claimed first use in 2000.

According to the UDRP:

Respondent contends that <tupelohoney.com> is comprised entirely of common terms that have many meanings apart from use in Complainant’s marks. Moreover, Respondent contends that the registration and use of domain names comprising such common terms is not necessarily done in bad faith. Respondent is free to register a domain name consisting of common terms and the domain name in dispute contains such common terms.

The Panel finds that Respondent did not register <tupelohoney.com> in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).

Kelly Tillery, sole panelist at the National Arbitration Forum, denied the Complainant’s request to transfer the domain, and additionally found the Complainant guilty of engaging in an act of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking:

The Panel finds that Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Panel finds that reverse domain name hijacking has occurred.

Complainant knew when it initiated the action that Respondent’s registration of the domain name predated its First Use of any TUPELO HONEY® mark by almost two years. That one undisputed fact was then and is now fatal to this Complaint and supports this Panel’s finding of reverse domain name hijacking.

For the full text of this decision on TupeloHoney.com click here.

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