In the case of Pro Natura Gesellschaft für Gesunde Emahrung mbH v. Mike Pollard , a WIPO 3-member Panel denied the Complainant’s efforts to have the domain names <fructaid.com>, <fructaid.net>, and <fructaid.org> transferred because the Complainant did not prove that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith.
The Complainant is in the business of marketing indigestion relief pills, and claimed trademark rights in its mark FRUCTAID, which it registered in Germany in 2006. The Respondent registered the disputed domain names in November 2012 and does not make use of them with active websites. Respondent claimed to be involved in product development, but that such development is many years from being complete.
The Panel found that the Complainant failed to demonstrate that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith because:
- The Respondent never offered for sale the disputed domain names. The Complainant offered $1,500 to buy the three disputed domain names and the ondent rejected that offer. But that alone was not enough to consider that the disputed domain names were registered with the aim of selling them to the Complainant.
- The disputed domain names were not in use. So there was no evidence of use of the disputed domain names to attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the websites by creating a likelihood of confusion.
- There did not appear to be any pattern or history indicating bad faith registration of domain names on behalf of the Respondent (or his company) nor was there any evidence that the disputed domain names were registered for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor.
- The evidence did not show that the Respondent knew or should have known that the disputed domain names reflected the Complainant’s mark. The Panel found Respondent’s claim to not know the Complainant plausible.
Pro Natura Gesellschaft für Gesunde Emahrung mbH v. Mike Pollard, WIPO Case No. D2016-2531
About the Author: Evan Brown is a technology and intellectual property attorney helping clients with a wide variety of issues, including domain name disputes under the UDRP. Call him at (630) 362-7237, send email to ebrown [at] internetcases.com, or follow him on Twitter @internetcases. Read Evan’s other blog, internetcases, for more information about general internet law.