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Recent UDRP Proceedings: Don’t Buy Misspelled Domains

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In several cases decided recently, the UDRP transferred the rights to several domain names using common misspellings to the complainant. For example, in one decision dated September 30, Google Inc. gained the rights to 37 domain names from Zhou Murong. These 37 domain names ranged from common misspellings to domain names actually containing the word Google. Examples include: gogledeals.com; googeldeals.com; gooogledeals.com; and my personal favorite, googeebooks.com.

Other sites have had similar problems with common misspellings of their websites being used to steal traffic from their actual site. Other examples where the rights to the domains were transferred to the owner of the correctly spelled name are:

  • Etsy, Inc. received the rights to etsyy.com
  • Enterprise Holdings, Inc. received the rights to
    enteriserentacar.com

With all three of these cases, there have been two things in common. First, the respondent has not responded to the filed complaint. And secondly, each misspelled website was simply a host for third party links, occasionally featuring competitor links for the website they were misspelling.

As discussed with other similar cases, the case for transference of the domain rights is a lot easier to make when the respondent does not respond to the complaint. Thus making it a lot easier to establish that the three points necessary for transference:

(1) the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;

(2) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In each case, it was fairly easy to prove all three points due to the nature of the website and fact that the respondents did not respond to the complaint. Because of the common misspellings of the websites in question and the fact that each company had trademarks for their names, it was easily shown that each website was registered in bad faith and was simply created to steal potential traffic from the correctly spelled website. Each case also resulted in the rights to the domain name being transferred to the owner of the domain they were misspelling.

You can read the actual decision for Google, Etsy, and Enterprise by clicking on their names.

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    November 28, 2013

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