CNN wins largest UDRP decision to date
In Cable News Network LP LLP v Eli Khouri d/b/a Channel News Network, a National Arbitration Forum panel has ordered the transfer of 325 domain names containing the CNN trademark to broadcaster Cable News Network (CNN). This is the largest number of domain names ordered to be transferred in any one Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy proceeding.
Eli Khouri registered 325 domain names incorporating the CNN mark, including a number of '.bz' domain names (actually the country-code top-level domain for Belize, but confusingly similar to the generic top-level domain '.biz'). CNN, the owner of the registered trademark CNN in numerous countries, including the United States and Lebanon (Khouri's home country), brought proceedings to have the domain names transferred.
Khouri contended that (i) he had a legitimate interest in the domain names since he had registered two trademarks containing the acronym CNN (for Channel News Network) in Lebanon, and (ii) the domain names were used in good faith since they all directed traffic to operating news websites.
Although the issues at hand were made more complex by the number of domain names involved, the panel had little difficulty in finding that:
- there was a likelihood of confusion between all 325 domain names and the famous CNN mark;
- Khouri had no legitimate interest in the domain names since he had lived in the United States for 15 years and was, therefore, well aware of the CNN mark; and
- Khouri had registered and used the domain names in bad faith for the same reason.
As a result, the panel ordered that all 325 domain names be transferred to CNN.
Parker H Bagley, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP, New York
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