Nike just does it again

National Arbitration Forum panellist Charles K McCotter has ruled in favour of world-famous sports company Nike Inc in a dispute involving the domain name 'nikebats.com'. The registrant, Ben Dias, used the domain name to direct visitors to a store on Yahoo.com which sells baseball equipment. McCotter found that this conduct constituted a bad-faith use of the domain name for profit.

Nike has had much success filing complaints under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), obtaining the transfer of the following domain names, and numerous others, during the years of 2001 and 2002: 'iwantnike.com'(1) , 'niketown.net'(2), 'nike.net'(3), 'nikewomen.com'(4), 'nikeshop.net'(5), 'nikeshop.org'(6), 'nike-shop.com'(7), 'nike-shop.net'(8) and 'nike-shoes.com'(9).

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when Dias, a US citizen, registered the domain name 'nikebats.com', Nike filed a complaint under the UDRP. Nike alleged that Dias was using the domain name to draw customers to his online sports equipment retail store. Dias did not file a response, so a default judgment was entered against him and McCotter ordered that the domain name be transferred to Nike.

Had Nike filed a complaint in the US federal courts alleging violation of the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, it could have obtained not only transfer of the domain name but also statutory damages of up to $100,000 and recovery of its attorney's fees. Thus, although UDRP proceedings are quicker than US judicial proceedings, the federal anti-cybersquatting law should not be overlooked.

Russell Falconer, Baker Botts LLP, New York

Endnotes

(1) Nike Inc v Shafeipour.

(2) Nike Inc v Lye.

(3) Nike Inc v Coleman.

(4) Nike Inc v Crystal International.

(5) Id.

(6) Id.

(7) Id.

(8) Id.

(9) Nike Inc v De Boer.

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