Abercrombie dazed by UDRP decision


In A&F Trademark Inc v Nestor, World Intellectual Property Organization panellist Dennis A Foster has refused to transfer the domain name 'aberzombie.com' to clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. Foster ruled that the site is an obvious parody and that it is not confusingly similar to the retailer's trademark.

Chad Nestor registered the disputed domain name for a website that features models wearing T-shirts bearing the term 'Aberzombie'. The site is a parody, claimed Nestor, as it contains humorous photographic images and content targeting the conformist mentality of Abercrombie's customer base.

A&F Trademark Inc, Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch Trading Co Inc - owners of the retail clothing stores, and the registered trade and service marks ABERCROMBIE & FITCH, ABERCROMBIE & FITCH CO and ABERCROMBIE in the United States and many other countries - instituted Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy proceedings for transfer of 'aberzombie.com'.

Foster held that the three complainants had failed to show that 'Aberzombie' is confusingly similar to their marks. Foster noted that although Nestor's domain name might bring the complainants' marks to mind, consumers would not be confused as to the source or sponsorship of Nestor's site.

In addition, although Foster found that the site is an obvious parody, he did not have to entertain the complainants' allegations of bad faith in light of his finding of no confusing similarity.

Virginia R Richard, Winston & Strawn, New York

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