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Do not fight larger battles in UDRP proceedings

Interesting decision from the UDRP shows that bigger disputes need to be taken elsewhere.

The Complainant, Autoboss Technologies, Inc., submitted a complaint requesting that the rights to the domain be transferred to them from the original owner, Cardiag Inc.

At first this seems like a straightforward case with simple proceedings (much like the Lady Gaga domain dispute or the case involving WELD-ON), however, once you delve deeper into the evidence, it is not as cut and dry as it seemed. As one would probably guess, Autoboss Technologies, Inc. has registered several trademarks for the term “Autoboss,” which it uses to market and sell automotive diagnostic products. But what you might not guess is that Cardiag Inc., the original owner of the domain, was once an authorized distributor of Autoboss goods, hence the need for the domain name. According to Autoboss Technologies, Inc., they terminated this distributorship in July 2008, but Cardiag Inc. says they weren’t notified until October 12, 2010 when a notice was placed on Autoboss Technologies’ website. At the time, the had-been distributor still had Autoboss inventory left and customers relying on them to fulfill their warranty needs. This notice severely hurt their business without any warning. Cardiag Inc. further goes on to say that if they lose this domain, they will lose contact with their customers and all investment they put into the website and Autoboss name including Google and banner ads.

Eventually the UDRP said enough was enough stating:

In this case, however, the Respondent claims that the Domain Name is only one element of a much broader commercial dispute between the parties that involves Complainant’s termination of Respondent’s distributorship allegedly without notice, the recovery of costs advanced by Respondent to promote the business of Respondent as a distributor of Complainant’s products, and possible improper interruption of business relationships between Respondent and its customers by Complainant. 

The Panel further goes on to state that a resolution cannot be achieved without more factual information and that this case falls outside of the scope of the UDRP. For these reasons, the Panel did not even attempt to rule on this case and instead simply dismissed it, leaving the rights to the domain with the original owner, Cardiag Inc.

The entire decision can be read here.

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