Federal statute protects RED CROSS against serial cybersquatter

In American Red Cross v Barry, National Arbitration Forum (NAF) panellist Charles K McCotter has ordered the transfer of 'RedCrossPharmacy.com'. In his strongly worded decision, McCotter cited a US federal statute that protects the RED CROSS mark, finding that notorious cybersquatter John Barry had registered the domain name in bad faith.

Since 1905 the American Red Cross has used the AMERICAN RED CROSS and RED CROSS marks in connection with its humanitarian services, disaster relief and educational programmes. The American Red Cross receives donations from major international pharmaceutical companies, and it works closely with pharmacies and drug stores in the collection of donations. The American Red Cross name and emblem are protected by federal statute 18 USC §706, which was incorporated into the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act in 1999.

The American Red Cross filed its complaint with NAF after corresponding with New York-based Barry. Barry used the domain name to misdirect visitors to an online drug store and an anti-abortion site, and offered to sell the domain name to the American Red Cross for $549.

McCotter ruled in favour of the American Red Cross, ordering Barry to transfer the domain name. In reaching this conclusion, McCotter first noted that, pursuant to Paragraph 4 of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the statutorily protected RED CROSS mark. He also found that Barry has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. With regard to the bad-faith requirement, McCotter noted that he need look no further than the federal statute protecting the complainant's rights in the RED CROSS mark. As both parties are residents of the United States, this statute alone permitted him to conclude that Barry had registered and used the domain name in bad faith.

For discussion of other proceedings brought against Barry, see US colleges stop serial cybersquatter.

James L Bikoff and Patrick L Jones, Silverberg Goldman & Bikoff, Washington DC

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