Win for GLENFIDDICH distiller leaves cybersquatter on the rocks

International

In William Grant & Sons Limited v Blincow, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) panellist Angela Fox has ordered the transfer of 'Glenfiddich.biz' and 'Glenfiddich.info' to the complainant - the owner of the famous GLENFIDDICH mark for Scotch whisky.

William Grant is the largest independent whisky distiller in the United Kingdom and its popular GLENFIDDICH-marked whisky is sold around the world. Frank Blincow, an individual, registered the domain names 'Glenfiddich.biz' and 'Glenfiddich.info' on October 8 2001 and November 10 2001, respectively. Both domain names directed visitors to placeholding pages provided by Blincow's internet service provider. Following Blincow's registration, William Grant filed a complaint with WIPO under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and '.biz' Restrictions Dispute Resolution Policy (RDRP).

Fox upheld William Grant's complaint and ordered the transfer of the disputed domain names.

With reference to 'Glenfiddich.biz', she held that Blincow had not made a bona fide business or commercial use of the domain name. Fox found that if a standard holding page "were to constitute use primarily for a bona fide business or commercial purpose, then practically all unused domain names would qualify since the posting of such pages is standard practice". The use of the domain names in connection with placeholding pages was therefore considered a violation of the RDRP.

Fox also found that Blincow had engaged in a pattern of bad faith by registering multiple domain names containing the famous trademarks or names of other UK businesses and football (soccer) clubs, including 'ArsenalFC.biz', 'CelticFC.biz', 'ManUnitedFC.biz' and 'Lloyds-TSB.biz'. She stated that "it seems likely that the respondent was aware of those trademarks and that he registered the domain names with the intent to prevent their registration by the proprietors of the marks".

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

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