State statute allows lottery UDRP win

International

In Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation v Dalton, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) panellist R Eric Gaum has ordered the transfer of 'TennesseeLottery.com' to the complainant. Gaum held that although the domain name was registered five years prior to the creation of the Tennessee Lottery, state law gave the State of Tennessee the exclusive right to operate a lottery and use the mark TENNESSEE LOTTERY in connection with lottery services.

Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, a company owned by the State of Tennessee that runs the Tennessee Lottery, filed a complaint with WIPO under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy against Tennessee resident Mark Dalton requesting the transfer of 'TennesseeLottery.com'. Dalton challenged the claim, asserting that he had owned the domain name for five years prior to the creation of the Tennessee Lottery and that he did not register it in bad faith. Dalton also argued that the State of Tennessee offered to purchase the domain name in exchange for "past registration fees".

Although the domain name was registered in April 1998, five years prior to the creation of the Tennessee Lottery, Gaum agreed with the arguments raised by the State of Tennessee. He found that the enactment of the Tennessee Education Lottery Implementation Law in June 2003 gave the State of Tennessee the exclusive right to operate a lottery and use the mark TENNESSEE LOTTERY in connection with lottery services.

Furthermore, Gaum determined that Dalton had registered the domain name to intentionally attract internet users to his website for commercial gain. A prior version of Dalton's website at 'TennesseeLottery.com' indicated that the domain name was for sale and boasted "TennesseeLottery.com equals guaranteed visitors".

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

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