The blog post on our sister site, www.ilawco.com, details two recent UDRP decisions denying transfer requests that Lewis & Lin LLC was able to help to obtain for our clients. http://www.ilawco.com/blog/lewis-lin-defends-pair-of-domain-names.html. Although we agree with the Panels’ ultimate decisions in both cases, there were individual aspects of each that highlight the subjectivity of the process.
In the Floor and Decor case, the Respondent had hired and paid a Web development company to design a Web site, but the developers never built the site. The Panel found this failure to be “troubling,” and found it “curious” that the Respondent redirected the site to one of her other Web sites, “rather than make efforts to achieve a specific website at the disputed domain name.” In other words, it’s not enough to hire Web developers and pay them to build a site. The Panel allowed no room for the normal ebb and flow of life, or the demands of operating a small business. Many small business owners are not tech savvy, and after three years of fighting with their developers, the Respondents in this case gave up and simply pointed the domain name to another site they owned. The Panel recognized, however, that the Respondent’s 22 years of use of the FLOOR & DECOR trademark in connection with their business gave them an unassailable claim to the disputed domain name.
In the Danshar decision, the Panel found that the Respondent did not have legitimate rights or interests to the domain name MineralCare.com, because the Respondent had pointed it to a site that sold competing products after the Complainant had severely curtailed its distribution rights. In that case, the Complainant’s predecessors had authorized and sanctioned the Respondent to use the domain name as a distributor of its products, but later sought to revoke that assent after a sale of the business to new owners. Although few would disagree that the Respondent’s use of the domain name was legitimate and bona fide when registered and during the term of its distributorship, the Panel found that a once-legitimate claim to a domain name could be rendered illegitimate by what it found to be subsequent bad faith use. On the question of bad faith registration, however, the Panel found that the Respondent had clearly registered the domain name in good faith.