D-A-D happy to adopt domain name following transfer
D-A-D has used the letter combination 'DAD' (including the alternatives 'D:A:D' and 'D.A.D.') as its name for over 20 years. The respondent, an entity known only as NP Data, registered the domain name 'dad.dk' in addition to approximately 450 other three-letter domain names. The 'dad.dk' domain name was advertised for sale on NP Data's website at the price of Dkr25,000 (around €3,500).
D-A-D sent a letter to NP Data requesting the transfer of the domain name. NP Data replied that it had not (i) registered the domain name in order to sell it at a profit, and (ii) contacted D-A-D after having registered the domain name. NP Data's website indicated, however, that its business activities included trade in domain names. D-A-D filed a complaint with DIFO.
The panel first held that the name D-A-D constituted a trademark that had acquired a strong secondary meaning through use. In addition, it considered the name to be a distinctive business sign, protected under the Danish Marketing Practices Act.
The panel next stated that the main issue of the case was whether the registration of the domain name constituted unfair marketing practice. It decided that NP Data had registered 'dad.dk' with a view to selling it at the highest possible price. This prevented the rock band from registering its business sign as a domain name, unless it was willing to pay NP Data a large amount of money for the privilege. Furthermore, NP Data did not have any legitimate interest in using the domain name itself.
In conclusion, the panel held that the registration of 'dad.dk' by NP Data and the fact that it had refused to transfer the registration to D-A-D free of charge constituted acts of unfair marketing practice in violation of the Marketing Practices Act. Accordingly, the panel ordered the transfer of 'dad.dk'.
Cases such as this will hopefully start to diminish following the introduction of a new act on domain names, which is set to be introduced in Denmark next summer. One of the provisions of the bill is a prohibition against warehousing - the registration of domain names with the sole purpose of selling them at a profit (see Denmark plans Domain Names Bill).
Lisbet Andersen, Bech-Bruun Dragsted, Copenhagen
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