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UDRPs Filed - Brand Owners Take Note

Matt Serlin

After being in the domain industry for over 15 years, there aren't too many things that catch me by surprise, but recently a few UDRP filings have me scratching my head.

Both ivi.com and ktg.com have had UDRPs filed against them, and I have to say for anyone holding a valuable domain name, it's a cautionary tale and one that should have folks paying attention to the outcome of each.

Just as a refresher, to be successful in a UDRP filing, the complainant must prove the following:

  • the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
  • the registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
  • the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

With that in mind, let's look a little closer at the details of these two troubling UDRP filings.

Ivi.com is registered to WebMD, LLC, a long-time provider of health and wellness information on the Internet, and the domain has been registered since 1992. The domain name currently doesn't resolve to any content, so it's not actively being used. The complainant is Equipo IVI SL, an assisted reproduction group based in Spain. They appear to operate their company off of the domain ivi-fertility.com. According to their website, IVI appears to have been initially founded in 1990 in Valencia.

The domain ktg.com is registered to HUKU LLC which appears to be an entity based in Belize and has been registered since at least 2001. According to a reverse WHOIS lookup, this entity owns a few hundred generic domain names in a variety of extensions. The domain ktg.com resolves to a Domain Holdings page with a message stating that this domain may be for sale. The complainant is a company called Kitchens To Go which operates off the kitchenstogo.com domain which was registered in 1998. They also appear to operate the k-t-g.com domain name as well.

Based on prima facie evidence, I'm doubtful that either of these UDRP filings should be successful — but then again the domain imi.com was recently handed over to the complainant in a case which appears to have very similar circumstances to these latest two. It should be noted though in that case, the registrant did not even respond to the UDRP.

What can brand owners do to ensure that they don't find themselves losing a domain in a questionable UDRP filing? A few things:

  • Ensure your WHOIS information is up-to-date and accurate so that any correspondence sent to the contacts is received. People think nothing of value comes to those published contacts, but UDRP filings would certainly be something you'd want to make sure you received.
  • If you do find a long-held domain being subject to a UDRP (or any UDRP for that matter), make sure you file a response so that you don't leave the complainant as the only voice in front of the UDRP panelists.
  • Make sure that your registrar has a procedure in place to notify you of any UDRP filing they may receive for your domains. In addition to communication to the domain owner, the registrar of record also receives notification, and they should be passing those notifications on to their clients.

It will be very interesting to see how these two UDRP filings play out, and we'll be sure to report back once the decisions have been made public.

By Matt Serlin, SVP, Client Services and Operations at Brandsight
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Good advice, Matt. I would add one Gerald M. Levine  –  Nov 19, 2017 2:21 PM PST

Good advice, Matt. I would add one more bullet point. Be sure to curate the content to avoid any possible association with mark owner or its competitors. The matter you referred to (reading the record carefully)failed to curate contents. The Panel found that "Complainant’s screenshot confirms [that] … the domain name contains various IMI related links and descriptions of the content located at the linked webpage." Now, if the Respondent had appeared… (but that's another story!)

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Promoted Post

Buying or Selling IPv4 Addresses?

Watch this video to discover how ACCELR/8, a transformative trading platform developed by industry veterans Marc Lindsey and Janine Goodman, enables organizations to buy or sell IPv4 blocks as small as /20s.