'Unpersuasive' arguments for registration of '.me' domain name rejected


In Facebook Inc v Abbas (Case DME2010-0005, July 13 2010), a World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) panel has ordered that the domain name 'facebook.me', which was registered in 2008 during the auction period for '.me' domain names (Montenegro’s country-code top-level domain), be transferred to complainant Facebook Inc.

On May 7 2010 Facebook filed a complaint with WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Centre, seeking the transfer of the domain name 'facebook.me'. Facebook argued that it owned numerous FACEBOOK marks around the world and that its online social networking services are internationally renowned. Facebook also provided evidence that, on April 12 2010, the domain name 'facebook.me' was one of a number of domain names offered for sale at a minimum price of $2,000 (€1,575) on a website operated by the respondent at 'batfind.com'.

The respondent, United Arab Emirates resident Amjad Abbas, argued that he had obtained and registered 'facebook.me' legally for approximately $5,115 (€4,029). The domain name is registered with GoDaddy.com. Abbas claimed to have also registered 'oracle.me', 'trump.me' and other domain names, explaining that he collected domain names as a hobby and to impress his friends, with possible future plans of creating non-profit personal blogs.

Abbas also stressed that he had not registered 'facebook.me' for commercial gain, adding that, as registrar GoDaddy.com was well aware, '.me' domain names were being auctioned as personal domain names under the slogan 'it’s all about YOU!'. Abbas also asserted that FACEBOOK was not registered in Montenegro or in the United Arab Emirates in August 2008, when he registered the domain name.

The panel dismissed Abbas' arguments, stating that his explanations for registering the domain name were not persuasive. The panel thus concluded that the domain name had been registered and was being used in bad faith.

Jelena Jankovic, PETOŠEVIC, Belgrade

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