22
Jan/03

BOLLIX Means Bungle; BOLLOCKS Means . . .


BULLION is a mass of gold or silver. BOUILLON is a clear soup from beef. chicken or other meats.  BOUILLIOUN is a surname of a former president of Boeing and a registered trademark of Bouillioun Aviation Services.  BOUILLABAISEE is a fish chowder. 

Registrant filed for BOULLION.COM.  She testified in this UDRP that she had intended to file for BULLION.COM, and put up a site having something to do with precious metals (which she never did).  Complainant sent a letter asking for the name and registrant offerred to sell it for an exceedingly high amount of money.

Panelist, suspecting typo-squatting, states:

It is difficult to know exactly what was in the mind of Respondent at the moment she registered the domain name, in terms of good or bad faith. However, the fact remains that soon thereafter, she began receiving emails intended for Complainant and did not make any effort to consider changing the domain name. Instead, she chose to attempt to profit from the confusion and sent financial solicitations via email to Complainant’s employees. Knowing of the misspelling of the word for gold bullion (her alleged motive for registering the domain name), she continued with the domain name containing the incorrect spelling.

Two other very relevant facts are determinative of this case:

1) There is no disclaimer whatsoever by Respondent on its website to the effect that it is not affiliated with Complainant, which implies an intention to profit from web traffic confusion with Complainant.

2) The extraordinarily high asking price for the domain name, between U.S. $500,000 – $ 1.37 million, obviously in excess of Respondent’s costs in registering the name, or even of Respondent’s claim to try and recoup its $ 70,000. business investment.

CONCLUSION – Respondent did not change the domain name when she soon became aware of its similarity with Complainant’s mark. Instead, she saw the tactical potential to try and take advantage of the situation.”

Well, that may be, but IMHO, the “reversible error” is the phrase “It is difficult to know exactly what was in the mind of the respondent the moment she registered the name . . .”  It is my understanding that bad faith has to be shown at the time of registration and afterwards, and when the panelist concedes that it is hard to infer such intent, then, even if the panelist suspects cyber-squatting, the case is not suitable for the expedited, limited-record UDRP proceeding.  While respondent’s post-registration behavior may be repugnant or greedy or bad, it’s not cybersquatting if there was no some type of bad faith at the moment of registration.

For a cases where panelists do suspect that the respondent is not so decent, but the record isn’t sufficient to transfer the name, see the RAIDERETTES and the FOREIGNER decisions.

p.s. Thanks to the Intellect Law Group for bringing this case to my attention.

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