'sunpeaks.com' decision leaves mark owner under a cloud

International

In Sun Peaks Resort Corporation v 505398 BC Ltd, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) panellist Daniel J Gervais has refused to transfer the domain name 'sunpeaks.com' to the complainant.

Sun Peaks Resort Corporation, a company managing a mountain resort in British Columbia, Canada, owns a registration for the trademark SUN PEAKS. It was the only entity in the area to use the name Sun Peaks until the local authority decided to adopt the name too. Subsequently, a number of businesses started using the name, including several of Sun Peaks Resort's former employees, who set up a website under the domain name 'sunpeaks.com' to provide information about the area. Sun Peaks filed a complaint with WIPO, requesting the transfer of the 'sunpeaks.com' domain name.

Gervais found that the name Sun Peaks had become a geographical identifier and, thus, Sun Peaks Resort could not claim exclusive rights to it. While Gervais noted that there may well have been issues of contract and employment law to consider, he found that they were beyond the scope of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and could not be taken into account. Accordingly, he refused to transfer the disputed domain name.

Shannon Yavorsky, Hammonds, London

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