QuakeAID loses fight for 'quakeaid.com'

International

In QuakeAID v Solid Domains.com Inc, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) panellist James G Fogo has refused to order the transfer of 'quakeaid.com'. Fogo concluded that although the domain name is confusingly similar to QuakeAID's trademark and the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name, there was insufficient evidence to establish bad faith under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) as the respondent merely uses 'quakeaid.com' to link to Amazon.com's website.

QuakeAID, a non-profit UK company that aids earthquake victims worldwide, had previously registered 'quakeaid.com' but later lost the domain name to Solid Domain when it inadvertently failed to renew its registration. QuakeAID offered to purchase the domain name but Solid Domain declined. Solid Domain does not use 'quakeaid.com' in connection with its own website, but rather has created an unexplained direct link to Amazon.com.

Solid Domain failed to file an answer to QuakeAID's complaint. Accordingly, Fogo was entitled to conclude that Solid Domain did not deny the facts as asserted by QuakeAID. Thus, based on the allegations in the complaint, Fogo found that:

  • QuakeAID has common law rights in the QUAKEAID mark;

  • QuakeAID's rights in the mark preceded Solid Domain's domain name registration;

  • the domain name is identical to QuakeAID's mark; and

  • Solid Domain has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.

Nevertheless, Fogo was not able to conclude that Solid Domain had registered or was using the domain name in bad faith because:

  • Solid Domain refused to sell the name to QuakeAid;

  • there was no evidence that Solid Domain knew of QuakeAID when it applied to register the domain name; and

  • the domain name was not being used in any way that would obviously be harmful to QuakeAID.

Thus, Fogo rejected QuakeAID's claim, allowing Solid Domain to keep the domain name.

Karin Segall, Darby & Darby, New York

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