VK.app : Domain #UDRP is not a clear-cut case of trademark infringement

A recent UDRP case involved the domain VK.app, and the decision was made to transfer it to the Complainant, V Kontakte LLC of Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation. The Complainant operates a social network used primarily in Russia.

The three member panel’s decision was based on the Complainant’s claims that the “VK” mark is famous worldwide, and that the Respondent offered it for sale.

Even with an existing trademark, as in this case, a domain registration does not constitute an automatic violation, just because the domain is for sale.

According to the Respondent’s defense, provided by ESQwire.com:

“The Respondent does not dispute that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark, but notes that the Complainant does not have exclusive right to the letters “V” and “K,” and does not appear to be well known or used in the United States where the Respondent is domiciled.”

The Complainant had to prove an intent of “bad faith” in the VK.app domain’s registration, something that the Respondent denied:

The Respondent alleges that it, being a United States citizen, living and working in the United States, did not register the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s VK trademark in mind and had no knowledge of the Complainant, its website, business name or trademark when it registered the disputed domain name. The Respondent further states that it did not register the disputed domain name with the intent to sell it to the Complainant, to disrupt the Complainant’s business, to confuse consumers seeking to find the Complainant’s website or to prevent the Complainant from owning a domain name incorporating its VK trademark.

The three member panel disagreed with the Respondent’s position in this case, ordering its transfer.

But can the Russian social network VK claim exclusive, worldwide rights to the “VK” mark, in a broad range of classes?

Unlikely, as the photo we captured below at a Cinco de Mayo fair shows, with the “VK” letters in prominent display as a brand. Vinny and Kory would most likely love to use the domain VK.app for their food truck deliveries of Vietnamese delicacies.

Note: ESQwire is a premium sponsor of DomainGang.com but did not request this article, which is not an advertisement. This article is our personal angle and opinion on a domain transfer decision, and we are not lawyers.

VK – A food truck by Vinny and Kory.

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